There was a feeling of glee at the Revelstoke fire hall last week as Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services unveiled its shiny new toy – an aerial truck dubbed Ladder 6.
Ladder 6 arrived in Revelstoke on Thursday, Jan. 16, and the media were invited to give it a look while volunteer and professional firefighters unpacked all the equipment from the vehicle.
The truck, a 100-foot American LaFrance Aerial Platform Apparatus, was parked inside the fire hall next to the vehicle it’s replacing – the 37-year-old Snorkel 6. The contrast between the vintage look of the old boy and the shiny new kid in the garage was remarkable.
Fire chief Rob Girard, mayor David Raven, councillor Phil Welock and several city staff were on hand to welcome the new vehicle.
Girard gave a short tour of the new vehicle, explaining why it was worth the $873,000 the city spent on it.
First was the 100-foot ladder – almost twice as long as the 55-foot ladder on Snorkel 6. The ladder is rear-mounted and lined with LED lights, making it visible even in very smoky situations.
“It helps the operator guide it,” said Girard. “If you’re in fog, smoke, whatever, you can actually see where you’re going.”
The platform supports more than 400 kilograms and has lighting around it so it can act as a light tower. It can be controlled from the bottom, so firefighters can spray water on fires even if there’s no one on the platform.
“If we are in a real smokey situation, we have to fight the fire from one location and we can’t risk putting people up there, we can just set it up there and then we can adjust where we want the water to go with the electric valving,” said Girard.
Two large air canisters allow firefighters to tap into air valves, meaning they don’t have to lug heavy canisters on their back.
There are four outriggers on the truck so it can be jacked up and balanced out when parked on uneven ground.
The new truck will be most useful when fighting chimney fires, said Girard, but it will be brought out to pretty much every single structure fire. It will mean that firefighters don’t have to walk on a dangerous roof while working.
“The platform is designed so we can pull up to somebody’s house and put out the chimney fire,” he said. “With Ladder 6, can raise up to the roof with all the tools we need to fight fire without putting the firefighters in danger.”
Girard also said the city got a great deal on Ladder 6, saving $300,000 by purchasing a demonstrator model instead of a brand new one. The fire engine was brought to fire chief conferences, dealerships and fire departments in Philadelphia, Ohio and Detroit before being driven to Revelstoke.
The department was scheduled for training on the new truck over the weekend. Girard said the fire department will hold an open house in the spring where they will demonstrate the new fire truck and give tours of the fire hall.
“The community is going to see this truck a lot.”