New/used Ladder 71 has arrived and is in service
In 2018, the current 1993 (26 year old) ladder truck failed its drift test. It could no longer be used as a rescue ladder truck. This meant personnel could not work off the ladder due to safety issues with the hydraulic system being able to hold the ladder in place. This created a dilemma for the department, because we have numerous two, three and four story resort accommodations, motels, and apartment/condo buildings throughout our jurisdiction.
The Fire Chief identified four options to address this issue:
1.) Buy a new truck which would cost about a million dollars and take a year plus to take delivery of.
2.) Fix the current apparatus which the Fleet Manager recommended against due to its age, ability to get parts, out of service time for the repairs and the amount of monies we would have spent on a 26 year old apparatus to make it operational again. Additionally, NFPA 1911 identifies that an apparatus over 25 years old should be replaced.
3.) No longer have and operate a ladder truck. This would leave people in multi-story buildings at risk. The fire protection class rating for the City would most likely increase causing an increase in insurance premiums for our commercial building owners. If a ladder truck was needed (provided for the last 26 years) and was no longer being provided, a case of liability could be made against the fire district.
4.) Buy a used ladder that would meet our needs with a reasonable service life left.
After healthy and lengthy discuss the Board of Fire Commissioners agreed with the Fire Chief that our best option was to purchase a used ladder truck.
The Chief and his staff did an extensive nationwide search to see what was available in the pre-owned ladder truck market. Over 15 apparatus met our specifications. The staff was able to narrow the field down, to the ones that were the most cost effective and met the operational needs of the district.
Assistant Chief Brandon Asher and Fleet Manager John Goyne flew to Brindle Mountain, Alabama to review and select an apparatus. There they found a 2007 Pierce 75’ ladder with a 2000 GPM pump 500 gallon tank and 12 year service life remaining for the apparatus. New, in today’s world, this apparatus would cost around a million dollars, and is estimated to have cost $850,000 when bought new in 2007. Following negotiations with the vendor, we were able to secure the apparatus for $175,000. Everyone involved agreed this was a great deal, and that it would meet the community’s needs. Best of all, we had the funds in our apparatus and equipment replacement account to purchase the ladder.
After the apparatus was detailed, service tested (aerial and pump), it was ready for delivery. To have the ladder truck shipped out on a low–boy, it would of cost the department around $12,000. If the vendor’s professional drivers drove it out to us, it would have cost around $6,500. So then, the district decided to fly Lt. Johnny Synder (Station 73, Union Valley) and another qualified driver to Brindle Mountain, Alabama to pick up the apparatus this cost the district $3,600.00.
Yet, another example of how cost effective and financially efficient your fire department has been over the last ten years.