Philomath Fire & Rescue Union members participated in a two-day training to be certified to operate their aerial ladder Truck 251. AIC Lt Taylor was a student and Captain Rich Saalsaa was an assisting instructor in the class that was held over the weekend in Cottage Grove. The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) led the class, which was hosted by the South Lane Fire Authority. Taylor is now a certified Aerial Operator for the Department as a result of passing the course. Other South Lane personnel took part in the training on 251 with a total of four fire trucks and 20 personnel in the class.
Captain Saalsaa stated that all paid staff and four volunteers are now certified Aerial Operators. Truck 251 is used for heavy rescue, motor vehicle accidents on the highway and major streets, as well as responding to in-town fires or requested response to other fire agencies. “We will often stand by at Corvallis Fire with 251 if they have a major incident. With AIC Lt Taylor's certification, we can now respond with the truck on each shift,” Saalsaa said. The truck has been in service for nearly two years and was acquired as part of bond that was approved by voters in 2015. 251 replaced the previous ladder truck which was taken out of service due to mechanical failure.
In addition to emergency responses, 251 is used for Christmas decorating in Philomath, as well as participating in parades. Truck 251 is a “Quint”, a quintuple combination pumper, which is a fire-fighting apparatus that serves the dual purpose of an engine and a ladder truck. “Quintuple” refers to the five functions that a quint provides: pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders. According to Capt. Saalsaa, many urban departments have moved towards more versatile apparatus, like 251, which can aid in a wider range of emergencies and is easier to operate than some other apparatus. “We can get around town much easier with this truck, reach the taller buildings such as the new apartment complexes, and more easily train volunteer operators than our previous truck,” stated Saalsaa. The truck has a 75’ ladder, carries 500 gallons of water, and is capable of pumping up to 1250 gallons per minute. The truck also carries 35’, 24’, 16’, and 10’ ground ladders, extrication equipment (including the ‘Jaws of Life’), medical gear, rope rescue gear, heavy-duty saws, and other equipment traditionally found on truck company apparatus. “Truck 251 is a great asset to the Philomath Community and neighboring communities,” Saalsaa said.
Congratulations AIC Lt Taylor!