06/30/13 433 W, 2 I - + 11 - 4 Raleigh Fire Department to Add Air Supply Truck

Press release. When a fire erupts you know that fire fighters, fire trucks, hoses and ladders are needed to combat the flames. But what of the air supply the fire fighters require to get inside and battle the fire. The Raleigh City Council has approved the initial $105,000 needed for a new air supply truck for the City of Raleigh Fire Department. The total cost of the air supply truck is approximately $650,000. The air supply truck being used by the Fire Department is 12-years-old and has more than 90,000 miles. The truck has required $65,000 in repairs since 2005 and is requiring maintenance and repairs more frequently. Read entire press release.

More information, you say? Here's some of what I'm gathering for the coming issue(s) of the Raleigh Fire Department Newsletter. The current air truck is housed at Station 5. Staffed with a driver-operator, it's a 2002 International/SVI mobile air unit. The truck, with a two-person commercial chassis, is equipped with a cascade system and bottle storage, as well as a light tower and generator. The new truck is being spec'ed as a larger vehicle. Custom cab with three doors, with a third door behind the driver leading to a combination SCBA repair/work station and command post module. The truck will be about the size of an engine, and with extensive compartment space. Thus it can also carry fireground support equipment. Expected delivery is spring or early summer, which will coincide with new SCBA systems. All self-contained breathing apparatus are being replaced in FY14. New bottles and new masks are coming, along with Pak Tracker technology.

Next question, what's the historical perspective here? First and foremost, who had the first air truck in Wake County? Does that title go to Six Forks Volunteer Fire Department? They had a trailer-mounted cascade system by the early 1980s. They also provided the first mobile air support for the Raleigh Fire Department, and were requested as mutual aid for major fires. The city's first air truck was a 1988 GMC/Union City extended panel van. Delivered that summer, it was placed in service on August 9, 1988. The truck was a two-parter: half mobile command post, half mobile air unit. Because of its extended length, the policy for response was without lights and siren. The truck was housed at Station 1 until 1991. It was replaced in 2002, and converted to a haz-mat support vehicle (minutes removed cascade system) in 2003. Three years later, it was converted to a mobile command post by personnel who remodeled the interior. It is presently parked behind Station 16.


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