When a fire company in a small community lays out three-quarters-of-a-million dollars for a single piece of firefighting equipment, it better have good reasons for doing so. Amity Fire and Rescue Company in Douglassville has plenty
In its coverage area are three major highways — Routes 422, 562, and 662 — which produce a steady stream of traffic cars, tour busses, tractor-trailers, dump trucks, and school busses throughout the day. Amity Fire company is often found on these highways tending to accidents with injuries and vehicle rescues.
“In a year’s time we see about 50 commercial vehicles in some sort of accident. Some are minor and others are heavy wrecks,” stated Arthur Heist, assistant chief and chairman of the truck committee.
To cope with the heavy traffic, the fire company recently placed into service a 2017 Pierce Heavy Duty Rescue Truck. Before committing to the purchase , the truck committee discussed what type of truck would best suit the needs of the company and the township.
“We examined all our data, studied the types of accidents and the types of vehicles involved, the seriousness of the accident, types of rescue equipment that would be required, and who would be our manufacturer,” said Heist.
At an accident scene, especially on a busy highway, safety is an absolute must for emergency personnel, he stressed. A major feature of the new rescue truck is the placement of rescue equipment — including Jaws of Life, spreaders, cutters, cribbing, power jacks, and wood blocks — on both sides of the truck.
“You do not want to run back and forth from one side of the truck to the other get rescue equipment,” Heist pointed out. “It is hazardous on a highway with all the traffic whizzing past you.” Since a full array of equipment is duplicated on each side of the vehicle, the company can respond immediately and effectively should they encounter another entrapment on the scene, he said.
There are times when firefighters arrives on an accident scene and discover the vehicle’s engine compartment is engulfed in flames. Another feature of the rescue truck is its 500 gallon –per- minute water pump tank. “You have the hoses and sufficient water to quickly extinguish the fire,” stated Heist. “And, the water tank pump is a time saver. Instead of taking two trucks, One for rescue operations and the other for fire suppression, just need to send one with its, dual capabilities.”
The heavy duty rescue truck was funded by township donations, State grants, and proceeds from the fire company’s social quarters.
The new truck, along with Amity’s 2003 and 2005 Pierce engines, will be triple-housed with a parade and housing ceremony on Saturday, September 16, at 1 p.m. Afterwards, a block party will follow on the grounds of the fire station at 47 Pine Forge Road.