Last week, the Merrill Fire Department took possession of their new 2017 Pierce Ladder Truck (Truck 63); replacing their former Pierce ladder truck built in 1998 which had reached its 20-year service expectancy.
Measuring 43 feet long and weighing in at just over 40 tons, the new truck’s ladder can reach just over 100 feet compared to the 85-foot ladder on the former truck. Powered by a 600 HP Cummins diesel powerplant, the truck is capable of being lifted to forward and rearward angles with the assistance of a hydraulic outrigger system.
The outriggers function as hydraulic powered stands which are emerged from each side of the truck, and provide grounded support for the truck while lifted. By achieving these angles, the ladder and attached bucket can be used in horizontal operations as well as vertical operations.
According to a press release from Fire Chief Dave Savone last week, the $1 million purchase of the truck was made possible as a result of last fall’s city budget process.
“Last year during the budget process the City Council approved for the replacement of the current Aerial Platform/Ladder Truck,” Savone stated. “The council budgeted $1.1 million for the new vehicle. During a RFP process last December the fire department received three RFP’s with the lowest proposal at $1,060,000. The Merrill Fire Department was able to purchase the new apparatus from Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton through their “Build My Pierce” Program. This program takes a stock fire apparatus that is already in the build cycle and allows the buyer to make minimal changes to the rig, such as paint colors. This process reduces the cost of the apparatus.
“This new aerial platform replaces a 20-year-old apparatus,” Savone adds.
The old ladder truck will be traded into Pierce after Nov. 1.
Last Tuesday members of the fire department went to the Pierce factory and inspected the apparatus, upon acceptance it was driven home to Merrill.
Throughout last week, a Pierce representative was on hand to give eight hours of hands-on individualized training on the truck and it’s various functions, to each member of the Merrill Fire Department, According to Savone, upon completion of familiarization training, the truck will be fully outfitted with necessary tools and equipment. MFD members will also receive an additional driver’s training and aerial ladder operation training from the Merrill Fire Training Division. The new aerial truck meets the current safety standards of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). New safety features included rollover protection, air bags in the cab, emergency lighting, backup camera, to name a few items. The expected life expectancy of the new apparatus is 25 years.
“With the new Truck 63, the fire fighters will be safer and more efficient in fire and rescue operations. This will ultimately provide safety to the citizens we serve,” Savone added.