Landis firefighters learning how to use hook and ladder truck
By Shavonne Potts
LANDIS ó In 2006, the Landis Fire Department received a ladder truck from a fire station more than 100 miles away.
That fall, Louisburg Fire Department, near Raleigh, donated the 1960s ladder truck to Landis.
The truck is an 85-foot 1966 American LaFrance hook and ladder truck.
“We got the truck by happenstance,” said Landis Fire Chief Reed Linn.
Linn attended an ElectriCities meeting where he heard about the truck.
Louisburg is a member of ElectriCities of North Carolina and receives power through the Catawba Nuclear Station in York County, S.C.
“We made a connection and got the truck,” Linn said.
Tarboro Fire Department had bought the truck in the 1960s and later gave it to Louisburg.
When Louisburg received a new truck through a fire grant, the ladder truck was parked behind the Louisburg station, explained Landis Division Fire Chief Art Delaney.
The Landis Fire Department recently refurbished the 42-year-old truck.
The department received help from Battalion Chief Mike Wilson of the Charlotte Fire Department, a recognized leader in the field of hook and ladder truck company operations.Wilson explained the types of tools the department needed to equip the truck.
“He’s working real close with us on stuff to get,” Delaney said.
Delaney, who began his fire career in a ladder truck in New York, is familiar with operating such a vehicle.
But since this is a new concept in Landis, as well as Rowan County in general, Chief Wilson was retained to provide technical assistance in getting the program up and running, Delaney said.
The firefighters put an automatic transmission in the truck, repainted it and equipped it with a generator and a radio.
“All ladder trucks have to be certified and tested,” Delaney said.
For that, they sent it to Rocky Mount to Fire Connections Inc.
Kannapolis has a ladder truck and so does China Grove.
“Theirs are like Salisbury’s ó a Quint with a hose. Ours is strictly for truck work: ventilating, search and rescue and forcible entry,” he said.
Delaney said Landis has also been working with Kannapolis to see how they can use the truck and work it into their operations. Landis and Kannapolis often assist each other on fire calls.
As part of the final plan to place the unit in service, the department held a “Truck Company Operations” class in mid-August.
The program covered all aspects of “truck company” work.”Adding a hook and ladder truck company to the fireground will change the dynamics of our operation,” Delaney said, “greatly improving our overall effectiveness, as well as assisting us in lowering our ISO rating.”
The firefighters have been training with the ladder truck but will have an advanced class in the fall. “We had to get them accustomed to what a ladder truck does,” Delaney said.
Firefighters have to learn how to maneuver a ladder truck in and out of situations and how to lay hoses.
“The whole group just grabbed right onto it,” Delaney said.
The program is different in that a ladder company can attack a fire on a roof instead of just from the ground.
“It’s a more efficient way of going in,” he said.
There is already a minimum of four people to an engine. No additional staff was needed to man the ladder truck. The firefighters who already respond to fires with the department will work on the ladder truck.
There is no cost to have the program.