MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., --
After years of service helping stop many fires aboard the Combat Center, it is time for the Fire Department to retire their trusty, old fire truck for a new one.
“The truck is old and is a maintenance nightmare to keep it running,” said Firefighter Lt. Steve Frank, with the Combat Center Fire Department. “That truck will be redistributed to another Marine Corps Fire Station, not aboard the Combat Center, as a reserve truck. Generally trucks serve on the front line for 10 years, then as a reserve truck for 10 years.”
Although the new truck has been here for a couple of weeks, it requires additional equipment before it can be put into service, like communications equipment specific to the Combat Center.
Even without the last pieces of equipment, the new truck can still help the firefighters accomplish their mission.
The new ladder is equipped with a breathing air tank, allowing a firefighter to work from the top of the ladder for an extended period of time, up to three hours. Using the self-contained breathing apparatus carried on their backs, the firefighters only have 25 minutes’ worth of air.
“The new truck gives us something up-to-date so we can better serve the community,” Frank said.
The new truck can hold up to 450 gallons of water, the ladder can be extended to 75 feet at a 90-degree elevation versus the old truck’s 50-foot ladder. It pumps 2,000 gallons per minute, its speed is governed at 65 miles per hour, it weighs 57,000 pounds and has a 450 horsepower motor and a turbo diesel engine.
The interior of the vehicle also has improvements to help the firefighters stay safe.
The cab of the vehicle has been upgraded with better A/C, seating and belt system, communication system (so the firefighters within the vehicle can speak to each other) and more windows for visibility.
“The interior of the truck provides a better environment for the firefighter to rehab during and after a fire,” said Firefighter Lt. Tony Kompier, also with the department.
Additional safety features include seatbelt sensors that allow the fire captain to know when everyone is buckled-up, also includes a roll cage and side curtain airbags in case of an accident or roll-over, and a better suspension system.