The fire trucks Zachary City Fire Department currently utilize do not have ladders that a reach high enough to access a building over 36 feet. Even the Best Western Inn on Hwy. 19 is not as tall as Lane’s new outpatient diagnostic center and the fire department knows that in order to be prepared in the event of an emergency at a building of more than two stories, they would need a bigger, better truck with a longer reach. In the fire department’s continued efforts to effectively serve the Zachary community, the fire station applied for a federal vehicle grant at the end of May to fill that need.
The grant paperwork was filed with a federal program called the Assistance to Firefighters Grant which is a program FEMA has in place to help local fire departments and other such first responder groups to increase their ability to protect and serve their population. This year, some of the funds were granted within the highly publicized American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Department of Homeland Security is entrusted with the AFG’s distribution. In fiscal year 2009, congress has allotted $565 million for the AFG program. Twenty-five percent of the fund, that’s $141.25 million, is to be used for fire protection and EMS vehicle acquisition. If the grant is approved, the City of Zachary would be required to meet a certain percentage of the tab for the $500,000 plus fire truck based on the population in the station’s jurisdiction. (Zachary had a population of 11,275 in 2000, according to the US Census Bureau.)
Zachary Fire Department’s search for a solution to better protect the city and allow its continued vertical growth led them to Ferrara Fire Apparatus in Holden, Louisiana. Ferrara Fire Apparatus has a long standing reputation for excellence. What began as Chris Ferrara’s fire product supply business in 1977 has become America’s premiere fire truck manufacturer. When contacted about Zachary Fire Department’s increasing need for a vertical lift, Paul Christiansen, Ferrara’s Marketing Director and Aerial Product Manager provided a possible solution: the Intruder 2 HD-77 Aerial Quint. The Intruder 2 boasts a 77 foot heavy duty aerial ladder, a reach that would make getting to the top of Zachary’s new medical diagnostic center a much easier task; so Mr. Christiansen arranged for a test run.
The shiny demo truck arrived at Fire Station 81 Wednesday, May 27 for inspection. The first item on the firemen’s agenda was to make a run to the Lane Medical Plaza & Outpatient Diagnostic Center. With an audience that included Mayor Henry Martinez and city councilman Dan Wallis, the firemen raised the ladder, glittering in the sun, to its full height. With boyish smiles, the men took turns climbing up the rungs for a bird’s eye view of the city.
The Intruder’s aerial ladder has an extended reach: 77 feet at only 72 degrees and a 70 foot horizontal reach. The truck’s ladder can handle a 500 pound water load of 1250 GPM (gallons per minute) flow at its tip. The Intruder 2 is full of the bells and whistles that no fire truck would be complete without. With ultra bright LED lights, an onboard Harrison 6kW hydraulic generator, and a standard CSU 1500 GPM water pump, the Intruder 2 may be just what Zachary’s first responders need to keep up with the demands of Zachary’s upward growth.