Surf City’s New Fire Truck Arrives Home After Being Displayed at Conference in Indianapolis

May 13, 2016
Photo by: Surf City Volunteer Fire Co. & EMS

The Surf City Volunteer Fire Co. & EMS’s new rescue pumper truck is finally home after being showcased at the international Fire Department Instructor Conference – the largest gathering of fire professionals worldwide – in Indianapolis last month. Representatives of Spartan Emergency Response, a South Dakota business unit of Spartan Motors that manufactured the truck, drove it out to Indianapolis and back, performed work on the truck and then delivered it to Surf City.

“We are very excited to have taken delivery of the new truck,” said Fire Chief Mike Wolfschmidt. “It turned out better than we had envisioned. When we stand back and look at the truck, it’s a great feeling of pride and accomplishment. I encourage all the residents and visitors of our community to stop by the firehouse, take a look at the truck, ask questions and celebrate its homecoming.”

Although the new truck arrived at the station prior to the fire department’s participation in the Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Co.’s triple housing last weekend, it was not entered into the parade because it is still not ready for use, said Peter Hartney, president of the fire company.

Robert Luft, assistant fire chief, is planning several training sessions in the coming weeks to teach the firefighters how to use the truck to its full potential, Wolfschmidt noted.

“The next month plus will be a very busy time at the firehouse,” said Hartney.

The truck, which combines the department’s previous rescue truck and fire engine into one unit, has been customized for the area’s post-Superstorm Sandy needs.

“Being on a barrier island, the rapid deployment of fire and rescue apparatus is somewhat limited due to the geographical shape of Long Beach Island, and the restriction of only having one Causeway Bridge for egress,” said Wolfschmidt. “This can be further limited during severe flooding, weather and traffic congestion. Having a well-equipped truck that is fully prepared to handle any type of emergency is extremely important.”

Members of the truck committee, which put thousands of hours into planning during the past three years, also considered the constantly changing demographic of residential homes and buildings in the department’s response area. The 20-foot boom on top of the new truck, which can reach 28 feet, has a master stream nozzle on the end that can flow 1,000 gallons per minute and lift up to 1,000 pounds. Hose connections can serve as an elevated connection pipe to a raised residential structure, if needed, said Lou McCall, fire captain and vice president. The truck also includes a 2,000-gallon-per-minute pump, and a compressed air foam system for four hose lines.

“By having an apparatus with an elevated master stream to reach the tops of tall homes and being well-equipped with a variety of hose lines able to make a long-distance stretch, we can effectively provide adequate fire protection to our residents and visitors,” Wolfschmidt said, noting many larger homes are being built closer together, which presents many challenges for the firefighters, especially during high winds that often occur. “The well-being of the people and communities we serve was put first in all our decision making, and we are proud to have made this accomplishment, which will serve us well for many years to come.”

Members have decided to name the truck “The Pride of Long Beach Island,” due to its innovative design and the department’s immense feeling of accomplishment, said Wolfschmidt.

Although custom-designed by members of the fire company, the new truck is funded by Surf City borough as well as Long Beach Township, which contributed $105,000. It was originally priced at $723,000 through the nationwide Houston-Galveston Cooperative Purchasing Program, but wound up costing $729,000 for necessary safety features. The borough is selling the fire department’s former rescue truck and old fire engine to make up for some of the cost.

“We wish to thank the borough of Surf City and the township of Long Beach for the monetary contributions in the purchase of this truck,” Wolfschmidt said. “We could not have done it without them.”

— Kelley Anne Essinger

(Photo by: Surf City Volunteer Fire Co. & EMS)
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