Fully equipped

Published 11:40 pm Friday, August 22, 2008

The Clanton Fire Department’s new rescue truck has enough space for all the equipment the state requires, and more.

The truck, which sports a 4-wheel-drive Ford F550 conventional cab with custom-built cabinets, soon will allow the department to have a fully-equipped rescue unit at both stations.

Henceforth to be known as Rescue 21, the new truck will remain at Station 1 while a similar vehicle already owned by the department will operate out of Station 2. This will free up the much larger engine that is typically not needed for routine medical calls.

“We’ve got 40,000 miles on that big truck. We’ve been running it to death,” Clanton Fire Chief Ashley Teel said.

The truck’s sleek design, which features roll-up cabinet doors, is less bulky and more operator-friendly, thereby reducing the potential for accidents, Teel said, recalling one incident in which an older model truck’s door was knocked off of its hinges.

“This will keep the cabinet doors from sticking out in the road while we are working a wreck,” he said. “It’s for the safety of both the firemen and the public.”

Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver said Rescue 21 would be a great addition to the department.

“This is a more maneuverable vehicle,” Driver said.

“With as many emergency runs as we’re having to make, we felt like it was time to upgrade on the medical end of things.”

That upgrade does not come without a price, however. The new unit comes with a price tag of more than $150,000 – that’s not including equipment, which is currently still on order.

The department has ordered a refurbished heart monitor and all-new advanced life support equipment, which is state regulated. They hope to eventually make Rescue 21 into a service truck, meaning it would haul additional equipment such as air packs and forcible entry tools.

“That would help improve our ISO rating,” said Lt. David Driver.

It will be several weeks before the unit is placed into full-time service, Teel said.