The Hudson Fire Department purchased two new fire engines to replace trucks which are 21 years old and were budgeted for replacement in 2015.
City Council approved the Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin, bid last June for $994,840 for the two trucks.
“The fire department budgets years in advance to purchase and obtain good financial discounts,” said Council President Hal DeSaussure.
In early 2014 the Hudson Fire Department Vehicle Replacement Committee assessed the department’s current fire fighting apparatus and equipment needs.
“We had a committee work over a year on design of the trucks,” said Hudson Fire/EMS Chief Jerry Varnes.
Some of the members were present May 19 and included Committee Chair Lt. Jeff Graber, Lt. Kevin Nelson, Lt. Mike Merritt and Tim Douds.
“The fire department worked as a team to make sure the trucks are perfect,” said City Manager Jane Howington. “They’ll be assets for the city and region.”
The engines were delivered to Hudson Fire Department May 4. Radios and equipment have been installed and the city’s volunteer firefighters are being trained in the use of the new engines, said Varnes. The new engines are expected to go into front line service in early June.
Volunteer firefighters will need to train on the new trucks, including driving the trucks, Varnes said.
“I need 75 to 80 percent of the department fully trained before I can put the trucks in service,” Varnes said. “We don’t know who will show up [for a fire], and if they’re not trained, they can’t drive the truck.”
The new trucks contain safety features that increase stability of the truck, seat belts for riders and a top mount pump operating system. The operator of the pumps stands on the truck away from passing traffic.
A ladder rack lowers for easy reach instead of firefighters climbing to lower a ladder stored on top of the truck.
A firefighter’s gear weighs 60 to 70 pounds, and it’s difficult to lift a ladder so having it automatically lower makes it easier to place on the fire fighters’ shoulders instead of reaching for it, Varnes said.
The new trucks offer 30 percent more storage space which allows everything from the old trucks to fit and allow for growth of equipment in the next 20 years, he said.
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