Firefighters trained on new ladder truck

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Wilson Fire/Rescue Services personnel were trained recently on the department’s newest ladder truck by one of the technicians who helped build the custom rig at Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin.

“With all platform trucks, we’ve had someone come and do training for our staff,” said Chief Albert Alston. “Pierce is a new product for us, so we want to make sure staff gets the exact training to know the trucks inside and out.”

Aerial services technician Josh Ritchie spent three days covering the truck from top to bottom with all three operational shifts at Station 1 on Hines Street, where the ladder truck will be assigned next month.

“This truck is no different in size as the ladder truck it is replacing,” Alston said. “It has a few more cubic feet of storage space, and we went from a mid-mount to a rear-mount platform.”

Wilson firefighters began designing the $1.29 million truck last February, and construction began in the Midwest in December. It was finished earlier this month, and the department is planning a dedication celebration in mid-May where residents and leaders will wash down the truck together.

The ladder truck the new rig will replace has already been sold to an outside vendor.

Alston said the added storage of this truck is a real plus.

“When you’re preparing for the future, you have to plan the truck for it to last 20 years. As requirements change for ISOs, we’ll have to carry more and different equipment, but this truck has the capacity for the future,” he said, referring to Insurance Services Office fire protection ratings.

The 47-foot long truck has more than 200 feet of ground ladders, plus the 100-foot aerial platform that can load up to 1,000 pounds and a nozzle to flow 2,000 gallons per minute ­— something that comes in handy when firefighters need to deluge a blaze from above.

“We hope we never have to use it for a rescue,” Alston said. “There are ladders used off the truck at every structure fire, but it depends on the type of rescue it is in terms of whether or not we use the platform. It has the capability to do so much both above and below grade.”