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Bozeman firefighters train with new ladder truck

By Jordan Moore, KTVM Reporter, jmoore@ktvm.com
Published On: May 04 2014 05:22:12 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Sunday was the first day of training for Bozeman firefighters as they learned the ins and outs of the new ladder truck. The $1.1M fire truck reached its final destination in Bozeman last week.

The truck is replacing one that is now 28 years old, it was purchased back in 1987. This new truck has been in the works for years. Mark Radcliffe with Bozeman Fire tells us this purchase was possible due to the Fire and EMS mill levy passed by voters back in 2007. He says about two years ago is when they started looking at the initial design of the truck.

There are many upgrades that come with this new ladder truck, one of those is the fully enclosed cab. It includes more storage space and can fit six people, two more than the old truck. On Sunday the firefighters also trained outside, all of them getting a chance to try out the outriggers. They allow firefighters to work on all sides of the truck while keeping it balanced.

"The sky is the limit with what we can do with this versus the other one, you were strictly limited to pretty much water operations and very limited in rescue operations," said Radcliffe.

Radcliffe says this truck can also pump out twice the amount of water as the old one, at more than 2,000 gallons per minute. One of the brand new features of the truck is the platform. On the old truck only one person could climb the 100 foot tall ladder. Now, there can be as many as four people in the platform at the top of the ladder. Jeb Fischer has been with the department for 18 years and tells us it is one of the best features.

"Its like a kid at Christmas it is a great piece of equipment for us. With the old one we had to get up on the roof and put another ladder to work off of at that point, this one has the option of being tethered to the platform and we can actually walk out on the roof and do all of our cuts and stuff that we need to with the lanyard," said Fischer.

Bozeman residents won't be seeing the truck on the road just yet. Firefighters will nned another month of so of training before they are completely ready.

"There is a learning curve with driving and operations, so there is going to be an in-service program and that is kind of what that month is going to entail is getting the front line drivers up to speed on the operations of it in the streets," said Radcliffe.

The old truck will be put up for bid soon and are told it could even end up at a rural fire department right here in Montana.

Training for firefighters in Bozeman will continue through the next few days.