Firefighters go through aerial training for new truck
RUTHERFORDTON — Rutherfordton firefighter Dwayne Craig took a moment during his 45 foot climb up a ladder Wednesday morning to wave at fellow firefighters on the ground.
Craig was joined by Rutherfordton Fire Chief Tommy Blanton and firefighters from Forest City and Rutherfordton for training classes on the department's new aerial truck.
Training took place in the parking lot of the VA Clinic off Charlotte Road in Rutherfordton and was the first of several sessions planned for firefighters during the next few months.
The training is on Rutherfordton's new HME Aherns Fox truck that has a 78 foot ladder and pumper capability. The cost of the truck was $508,000.
The truck arrived in town about 10 weeks ago and firefighters have received the basic training and have met the obligations required by the truck's manufacturer to use the it on calls.
Blanton said the firefighters wanted additional training on the ladder in order to be better equipped work it.
After firefighters have been through 60 hours of training, they will receive aerial certification, Blanton said.
"We have run the truck on calls, but haven't had to raise it for a fire yet," Blanton said.
Blanton said the town has been in need of the truck for a long time.
"We have several buildings in Rutherfordton that are taller than our ground ladder will reach," Blanton said. "We can use this for rescue purposes and for an elevated stream to fight fires."
The ladder can also be used for rescue situations. It has a capacity of going 10 percent below the horizontal plane, which means if a vehicle goes an over embankment, it could reach down and rescue victims.
"Being aerial certified is not required to use the ladder truck," Blanton said, "but it gives us all a better understanding of how aerials work, how to set them the safest places and distances from the buildings."
Forest City fighters worked with Rutherfordton on Wednesday, bringing the department's Ladder 1 truck also.
Forest City's truck is different because it has a bucket at the end of the ladder, but Rutherfordton's truck is a "stick" ladder without a bucket.
"This gives us a good comparison as to what our truck can do and what theirs can do," Blanton said.
Blanton says the stick ladders adapts better for rescue operations which is what his department needed.