By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE -- The Melbourne Fire Department is determined to improve its fire ground operations, with the purchase of a new vehicle.
The department acquired a new aerial platform truck, a Sutphen SP-95, on Jan. 26, and the fire staff began training exercises the last week of January.
"The truck will allow the department to mitigate situations more safely and at a higher level than our existing trucks," said Chuck Bogle, assistant chief of operations for the Melbourne Fire Department. "The new Sutphen aerial has a 95-foot ladder with a platform (bucket), in which firefighters can work from and can accommodate persons being rescued much safer, as well."
Mr. Bogle said that the truck, which will be placed in service in March once training has completed and all equipment has been installed, offers an additional ladder footage. Currently, there is a 75-foot ladder used for the truck now in service, as well as another 75-foot ladder for a reserve truck.
This additional height enables the department to reach nearly two floors higher.
"By purchasing this truck, we can place a second aerial apparatus in service, located in the north area of the city of Melbourne," he said. "This will improve our service level by reducing the response times for aerial operations in the North end of the city."
The new truck cost $974,627, which included $340,000 of funding from Public Facility Impact Fees.
The remaining balance will be financed through Sun Trust Equipment Finance and Leasing Corporation for 10 years at 2.4430 percent, Mr. Bogle said.
Mr. Bogle said that Sutphen has a reputation for quality and reliability in the industry, and it is significantly lighter in weight than its competition. This will reduce overall operation costs, such as funding for fuel and maintenance, as well reduce the impact on city streets.
"Our crews are very excited about the new truck, its capabilities and the new look we are going to have as a department," Mr. Bogle said. "It is my hope that this truck assists us in providing the best service possible to the citizens of Melbourne for many years to come."