Fire chief says pumper brings more safety, versatility
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
About 200 people dropped by the fire station on Saturday during an open house for the Brentwood Fire Department to show off its new rescue pumper.
The truck was parked out front along with the BFD’s newest ambulance, which they acquired in 2011. Inside, firefighters gave tours of the station and provided a free lunch. The crowd was so big they ran out of hot dogs.
“That was fun,” Brentwood Fire Chief Ted Jury said a few days later. “There was just a great feeling about it. We couldn’t have gotten a warmer reception from the public.”
The star of the show was the new pumper, which Jury said was “designed from the ground up” based on input from the department’s truck committee. He said it cost $740,000, plus $100,000 for new equipment.
“The number one thing in the truck committee’s minds was safety,” said Jury. “Also, the truck has more room and allows for better organization. We can carry more stuff.”
They sure can. Though at 10 feet 4 inches the truck is the same height as its predecessor and only three feet longer, it allows firefighters to carry a lot more equipment. Besides the usual assortment of hoses and ladders there are power winches, jaws-of-life-type hydraulic rescue tools, power saws and drills, a tool chest, heavy-lift airbags that can be inflated to raise a vehicle off the ground, roof panels that open to deploy a water cannon and flood lighting, and much more.
“Every drawer and shelf was specially designed to hold specific equipment,” said Jury. “The truck committee really did a great job.”
The pumper is like a Swiss army knife, able to handle a huge variety of situations. Jury said that’s important for Brentwood, which presents a wide variety of challenges for firefighters.
“We have everything here, from heavy industrial to vehicles to high rises to residential,” he said.
Up front, carefully designed steps and well-placed handles allow firefighters in heavy uniforms to more safely get in and out of the cab.
“You wouldn’t believe how many firefighters are injured every year just getting in and out of trucks with their equipment on,” said Jury.
Inside the five-seat cab, oxygen tanks are mounted behind each seat so they can be quickly put on or taken off.
The pumper was built by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisc., and arrived here on March 13. After it was outfitted with gear and firefighters were trained, it was put into service on May 5.
Brentwood’s former front-line pumper, acquired in 2002, now serves as a backup. Jury said the BFD’s trucks are usually in service for 20 years – 10 as the main truck and 10 as a backup.