With smoke filling the air and darkness making it difficult to navigate up and down narrow ladders to rescue people in danger, the Bayonne Fire Department finally has a new vehicle that will rescue people quickly and safely, while also providing the fleet with a vehicle that can deal with industrial and fuel tank fires.
The 75-foot mid-Mount Ladder Tower Platform Truck rolled up to City Hall on Monday. It will replace a 22-year old vehicle and provide the department with high tech solutions to many of the everyday problems modern firefighting faces.
Paid for by grant with a 25 percent match, the new vehicle cost $848,177, but is worth every cent, fire officials said.
“This vehicle has everything,” said Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell. “And it is built for durability.
The new vehicle was specifically designed to fit into all of the Bayonne fire houses, said Fire Chief Greg Rogers, and provides a number of features that will make it safer going to and during a fire, including a black box similar to those found on commercial air liners that allows staff to monitor each aspect of the vehicle’s operations, even over its lifetime.
Rogers said the platform allows for fire fighters to complete more comprehensive rescues since victims can make their way down the ladder from the platform even while firefighters continue to bring out victims via the platform itself.
“This is the most advanced piece of equipment we have in the fleet.” – Greg Rogers
In January of 2011, U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez secured $720,000 to purchase a new ladder truck through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. AFG funding can be invested in vehicle acquisition, training, equipment, wellness programs, and other support for stations and facilities.
“This investment in our local fire departments will help guarantee our firefighters are fully equipped and prepared to keep our families and neighborhoods safe,” said Menendez said at the time. “Our firefighters risk their safety every day to protect our communities and the very least we can do for them is guarantee they have the best equipment and resources to do their job.”
Senator Lautenberg is the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security that funds the AFG program.
“This federal funding will help Bayonne firefighters purchase a new ladder truck to keep local families and neighborhoods safe and secure,” said Lautenberg. “Our firefighters put their lives in danger every day and this direct federal investment in local New Jersey fire departments will help ensure they are equipped with the best resources to protect our communities.”
For Bayonne residents, the grant allows the department to modernize its fleet and replace the 22-year old bucket rescue truck, which currently operates out of the Fourth Street fire station house.
“This is the most advanced piece of equipment we have in the fleet,” Rogers said.
Not only are all the operations monitored in real time if necessary, from engine performance to how the vehicle steers enroute to a fire, the vehicle can also deliver 2,000 gallons of water per minute to help extinguish a blaze.
The ladder itself has a string of lights that allows victims to descend safely, even under heavy smoke conditions.
Meanwhile firefighters will have to train in the new vehicle, something that will likely take about three weeks, and will include instruction by the manufacturer, Rogers said.