GRANTS PASS – The City’s new Pierce Ultimate Configuration (PUC) fire apparatus has arrived and will soon go into service at the Hillcrest Station as unit #7307. The current unit carrying that number will be placed as a reserve unit, and unit #7317 will be retired from service. The new unit is the result of nearly two years of effort by city staff to replace aging apparatus.
“It is a generally accepted fact that fire apparatus, like all types of mechanical devices, have a finite life,” said Grant Cory, superintendent of Fleet Services.
Cory first presented a proposed timeline for fire apparatus replacement in 2017. This helped identify the need to research suitable replacement options. As a result, an Apparatus Specification Committee was formed in early 2018. The committee consisted of firefighters, engineers, battalion chiefs, and fleet staff who presented their recommendations for city council approval.
“A fire apparatus is an emergency vehicle that must be relied on to transport firefighters safely to and from an incident, and to operate reliably and properly to support the mission of the fire department,” Cory said.
The city’s existing three primary engines were purchased in 2008. The retiring reserve unit was purchased in 1997. Generally, pump truck apparatus have a lifespan of 20 years, said Cory.
“Given all considered factors, the recommended replacement schedule generally entails a 20 year lifespan for pumpers (10 years as primary and 10 years reserve), and 30 years for an aerial (ladder truck),” he said.
The city’s next oldest truck, reserve unit #7319, dates back to 2002, and will need to be replaced in 2022.
“An old, worn out, or poorly maintained fire apparatus has no role in providing emergency services to a community,” said Cory.
The new PUC fire engine is a state-of-the-art apparatus with a unique Power Take Off (PTO) driven fire pump that allows for easier service because it isn’t connected to a transfer case behind the transmission. With the cab of the truck tilted forward, most of the fire pump is exposed, rather than having to access it from underneath the chassis. It also provides the apparatus with the ability to “pump and roll,” with water continuing to flow while the engine is driving at slow speeds.
The new apparatus also features newer safety features, lower fuel emissions, electronic stability control, anti-lock brake system, diesel exhaust fluid, automatic traction control, side roll protection, frontal impact protection, LED emergency lighting, and on-board electronic system diagnostics.
Final additions to the new unit include up-fitting the apparatus with city radio communications devices, intercom and headset equipment, a secured Knox box, tool holders, and other gear customized to the needs of the city’s firefighters. Lead mechanic Dave McAuliffe and fire engineer Marty Adamo have been assigned to complete the up-fitting, which is expected to be completed in the next three weeks.
“We will continue the quality workmanship that has gone into this unit thus far. We look forward to the day when this unit is officially placed “in-service,” knowing it will protect life and property for many years to come,” said Cory.