I always listen to a radio news channel first thing every morning. I’m interested in what has happened overnight and how that might play into my upcoming day. An important story caught my attention this morning:
The bucket on an aerial ladder failed and dropped 3 firefighters during a training exercise in Georgia. I found that very concerning since we have 3 trucks with aerial ladders that are in use frequently. I knew that we had conducted our annual ladder testing on June 17th so I was somewhat confident that we were where we should be. The City has a huge investment in equipment for the Fire Department and it is our responsibility to maintain it and make sure it is ready when needed and safe for our firefighters to use.
The fire department has over 400 feet of ground ladders and over 225 feet of aerial ladders which were tested. Along with the annual testing this year, the three aerial trucks had a more intense five year test. This testing covered structural integrity, heat exposure, and operational performance. Preventative maintenance on top of the priority list to extend the life of the equipment and to assure the safety of our firefighters.
The manufacturer of the failed ladders, Sutphen, has issued an alert to take their ladders out of service until they can be inspected since the Georgia incident closely followed a similar incident in Arizona. In talking with Assistant Chief Macias today, I was relieved to learn that our ladders are not Sutphen ladders.
One less thing to worry about…..