Fire department welcomes new ‘Ladder 1’ truck

Photo above: Members of Beaufort-Port Ryal Fire Department in front of Ladder 1.

The Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department took delivery of the Pierce aerial ladder truck late last month. Firefighters are outfitting and prepping the truck for full service. A new fire truck, Ladder 1, is serving Beaufort and Port Royal and soon will be housed in the new fire station on Ribaut Road.

“It’s an exceptional vehicle that will serve us well into the future,” Beaufort Fire Chief Reece Bertholf said. The fire truck has specific features that make it ideal for serving Beaufort and Port Royal.

· The truck has a single rear axle and a shorter wheelbase, allowing it to make tighter turns which is important on narrow streets, such as in Beaufort’s historic district.

· When designing the vehicle, its overall height was kept as low as possible because of the many low-hanging tree branches in the area.

· The truck is called a “quint” because it has five capabilities. It carries onboard water, and has a water pump, ground ladders, an aerial ladder, and fire hose. It has all the capabilities of a fire pumper and a ladder truck.

· Ladder 1 is a Pierce Velocity, the same model as the department’s updated fire pumpers purchased since 2009. That means it has many of the same systems, which streamlines maintenance on all three frontline fire vehicles.

· The Ladder 1 crew has been training to be an “all hazards” team capable of firefighting, rescue and medical emergency responses in all types of environments.

“Ladder 1 will be a ‘first out’ apparatus, meaning it will respond to all sorts of emergency calls for the new Station 2 when it opens on Ribaut Road,” Bertholf said. “It is equipped for multi-uses and our firefighters are trained for multiple responses.”

With the addition of Ladder 1, Beaufort and Port Royal are served by two fire pumpers, two fast response squad vehicles, and an aerial ladder on a daily basis. The department still has Tower 2, an 85’ platform aerial fire truck, which will be kept in reserve and at the ready for large-scale incidents.

The new fire truck replaces a ladder truck built in 1973 and bought by the city as a used vehicle in 1986, and also replaces a 1999 platform ladder truck that was too big to adequately maneuver through many of the local streets, Fire Chief Berthold said. Both of those vehicles were sold to help pay for the new
Ladder 1 truck.

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