Fire Chief David Flannery answers some frequently-asked questions
Why does a little town like
Carlisle have so many fire trucks?
Carlisle has no municipal water and therefore
no hydrants. We use natural water sources and cisterns in the newer
developments for water when there is a fire. We carry a mile of
large diameter hose and each truck has a high capacity pump. We
can move water from point A to point B using the hose and pumps.
In addition, all of our trucks have water tanks, the largest being
engine 5 with 3,500 gallons of water.
We arrive at a fire with over 6,000 gallons
on wheels and this is used to contain the fire while we are setting
up the hose and pumps, sometime using mutual aid help from our neighbors.
Additional tankers are also on the mutual aid response for areas
of the town that have no water nearby.
Why does Carlisle need a 100 foot ladder
The answer is simple. It is not so much
the height that we require as most larger homes are 35 to 40 feet
in height. It is the "reach" that we require. Often the
truck cannot park very close to a dwelling because of physical landscape
obstructions. The ladder truck needs to be able to reach the highest
portion of a structure in order for firefighters to ventilate the
building during a fire. A hole is cut in the roof at the highest
point over the fire. This allows for all of the superheated gases
and smoke to ventilate and allows for fresh air to come in at the
bottom where firefighters enter to attack the fire. This is always
a coordinated attack. The three main functions of the ladder truck
are to rescue trapped victims, to ventilate the structure, and to
rescue trapped firefighters if necessary and support firefighting
The ladder is state-of-the-art for fire
apparatus with the latest equipment and safety features. It also
carries hose and water as well as a full complement of ground ladders.
In addition, the truck has a hydraulic generator which operates
off of the engine of the truck to power all of the lighting and
power equipment. A rehabilitation area was designed into the rear
cab of the truck. This area contains a food warmer, cooler, coffeemaker
and beverage dispenser. This is a unique feature which was included
in an effort to meet the physical and nutritional needs of firefighters
working under physically demanding conditions for an extended period
of time. Firefighter hydration is critical in order to maintain
safety and performance.
Can this truck get
up your driveway?
Carlisle's new fire engine may be able to do all
the things the town wants it to do, especially in regard to newer
homes too high for the old truck and ladder to reach — but
can it get up your drive?
Deputy fire chief David Flannery says the
new truck needs 12 feet for clearance and is eight feet wide. This
is two feet higher than the old #5 tanker. He says it is a good
idea to prune trees near roads and driveways every 3-4 years in
any case, but this year Carlisle residents need to be thinking higher
and ensure that driveways and private drives will be passable if
there is a fire.
In the winter, snow and weighed-down limbs
decrease passage space, as do low branches which grow out into the
drive. Flannery says regular pruning not only clears a passageway,
but helps prevent storm damage by taking out weakened limbs. Now,
with relatively comfortable temperatures and open ground, is the
best time to check your driveway and do any necessary pruning.
Carlisle Ladder 9 specifications
Some of the physical particulars of the
truck include: 40 foot length, 12 foot height and 8 foot width.
It has a 500 HP diesel engine, a 490 gallon water tank, a 1500 gallon
per minute pump, weighs approximately 32 tons and has a 15 KW power
plant (hydraulic generator ). It also carries a full complement
of rescue tools including the "Jaws of Life". Training
on aerial ladder operations began more than a year ago and the truck
was delivered on May 25, 2002. Active ladder training is ongoing
and the truck is now in service.
| J. J. Supple demonstrates how to operate
the ladder from the top so as to position the ladder exactly
where needed. (Photo by Don Emmons)