Archive for Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two new firetrucks join Lawrence’s fleet

Pair of quints boast safety upgrades, enhanced firefighting capability

Firefighter and emergency medical technician Troy Gourley releases the flow of water from a hydrant to a new ladder truck during a training exercise Tuesday at the Fire Medical training facility, 1941 Haskell Ave. Two new ladder trucks, Quint 2 and Quint 4, have joined the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical fleet.

Firefighter and emergency medical technician Troy Gourley releases the flow of water from a hydrant to a new ladder truck during a training exercise Tuesday at the Fire Medical training facility, 1941 Haskell Ave. Two new ladder trucks, Quint 2 and Quint 4, have joined the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical fleet.

April 28, 2009


New firetrucks roll into service

A pair of new firetrucks has joined the Lawrence Fire Department. They're a step above the rest with new safety features and technology. Enlarge video

On the street

Do you prefer firetrucks colored red or green?

I think red is fine, it’s standard and I’m used to it.

More responses

A pair of new twin sisters has joined the local fire department.

The shiny red beauties are a notch above the rest, not just because they flash brighter lights and boast mirrors that resemble bug antennas, but also because they’re equipped with new technology intended to make fighting fighters more efficient.

Known as Quint 2 and Quint 4, the fire trucks were delivered to Lawrence-Douglas Fire Medical firefighters earlier this month. Firefighters learned all about them during hands-on training sessions Tuesday.

“New toys are always good,” said Will Hallagin, an engineer on the fire force. “This is particularly important, because it increases our safety; it allows us to knock a fire down quicker.”

All the department’s engineers are being trained on the new trucks. They must master hydraulic calculations and an assortment of other features on the trucks, Fire Chief Mark Bradford said.

While the $820,000 trucks share many similarities to those they’re replacing, they include a $40,000 compressed air foam technology, providing for a quicker and less-damaging firefight.

Water, air and special foam are combined, creating a mixture that sticks to surfaces and absorbs temperature more quickly than plain water, Bradford said. It also uses less water, which should cause less structure damage during a minor fire.

The trucks also have new safety features to keep firefighters and the public safe, including airbags, antilock breaking systems, rollover protection and a better steering system. Plus, large mirrors stick out from the front of the truck, giving firefighters a 360-degree view of their truck.

Purchased in 2008, the trucks also include a water tank, a water pump, hoses and a ladder. Bradford said the trucks should last for 12 to 15 years.

“It’s an investment in the community,” said Bradford. “This is what protects us.”

The purchase is the first step in replacing the entire fire truck fleet, which fire leaders have consistently said is deteriorating. The trucks, which have no trade-in value, are also said to be expensive to maintain.

More shiny red trucks should be rolling into town over the next 10 years, as fire officials look forward to spending $5 million on replacing even more trucks. With a 73 percent vote, Lawrence taxpayers in November approved a new city sales tax, of which $500,000 will go toward purchasing new fire trucks each year. The sales tax increase took place April 1.

Other than making their jobs easier, firefighters said getting new trucks will relieve concerns of showing up to a fire and having equipment break down.

In July, firefighters were battling a house fire at 1005 Ind., when a faulty sensor caused a 10-year-old ladder truck to break down. That truck could be replaced by new tax dollars this year or next, Bradford said. He said it takes at least a year from the time a purchase is approved, before each truck is designed, built and delivered.

“We think it’s great, it keeps our equipment new and fresh,” Hallagin said of the plan to replace fire trucks. “It keeps us on the front line.”


bobberboy 4 years, 11 months ago

Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars they cost. It's amazing to me that the fire department can spend, spend, spend. How many fires are their in Lawrence every year anyway ? Must be a bunch.


jrlii 4 years, 11 months ago

I'd heard that Lawrence fire trucks were green, but to my color-blind eyes, they just looked beige, about the same color as gravel road dust.

I don't know that red is any more noticable than the green. At least I can tell the new trucks are predominantly red.

Now, if you are picking color schemes for visibility, how about a nice eye-searing combination like royal blue and day-glow yellow?


biggunz 4 years, 11 months ago

And it was deemed that reflective stripes and lights are more important than the actual color of the truck anyway.


kimirh7 4 years, 11 months ago

Chief McSwain changed the firetrucks to neon green several years ago. His only reason for the change was the safety of his firefighters and the public. The green is much easier to see at night. He knew many people did not "like" neon green, but he stood by his decision for safety reasons, and did not care what was more aesthetically pleasing to people. The firetrucks were changed back to red after Chief McSwain retired.


doc1 4 years, 11 months ago

The green was embarrassing. I'm glad they did go with the red.


Chris Ogle 4 years, 11 months ago

Bradford said. It also uses less water....."

Sounds green to me.....


compmd 4 years, 11 months ago

Danimal, Thank you for your informative reply.


Danimal 4 years, 11 months ago

compmd, used trucks are something that are typically bought by smaller towns and volunteer fire departments. Used trucks wouldn't be worth buying in Lawrence's situation because of the call volume they have to respond to. Lawrence can't have trucks down for maintenance as frequently as a department with fewer calls can. We already have old used up trucks, it's like anything else that's been in continuous use for 20 years, eventually the financials balance out so it makes more sense to buy a new truck. Depreciation on trucks is partially so huge because it's the pump hours that count and pumps are super expensive. Besides, the higher rating that LFD receives by having better response time, newer equipment, and decreasing loss and damage to property all works for the citizens benefit by not only having better emergency services, but by also decreasing property insurance premiums.


compmd 4 years, 11 months ago

I still can't believe that with as tight as budgets are, the city refused to by used fire trucks. Like people who can't really afford to buy new cars, many cities buy used fire trucks and ambulances. Since the current fire trucks have no value according to the city, depreciation must be incredible. If they would have bought used trucks, with the money they saved, they could have hired a full time, salaried mechanic to work on the trucks and perform all maintenance and repairs and still come out ahead.


Danimal 4 years, 11 months ago

Hoots, they went back to red because most people hated green and just couldn't get used to looking for a green truck when they heard sirens. I know it sounds stupid, but that's what I've always heard spelled green trucks doom.

Can we see some pictures of the new trucks LJW?


Hoots 4 years, 11 months ago

I don't like the change back to RED. I really liked the bright green trucks much better. They went to green originally because it was seen better by drivers. I know I don't notice the new red trucks as much. RED is lame.


RoeDapple 4 years, 11 months ago

"The trucks, which have no trade-in value, are also said to be expensive to maintain."

Well the price is right---------- I'll take them


Curtis Lange 4 years, 11 months ago

'Antilock breaking system' huh? lol


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