The Salisbury (MA) Fire Department was in a bit of a bind. It was running a 1991 aerial ladder that it had purchased as a used vehicle 10 years previously, but the rig needed to be replaced, yet the department didn’t have the money to do so. But when it received a $975,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from FEMA, the department moved ahead with getting a new aerial ladder.
Scott Carrigan, Salisbury’s chief, says he formed a committee of firefighters to study what type of aerial vehicle would best fit Salisbury’s needs. “We were looking for something with a good turning radius and a shorter overall length than our existing truck,” Carrigan says. “We’re a coastal community with several miles of beach oceanfront and a state park with a large capacity for RVs and camping. Our population is 10,000 year round, but in summer it can get to 30,000 on weekends, and a lot of that population is in a heavily built-up area along the coast with one- to four-story structures very close together, with many narrow streets in the area.”
Carrigan continues, “At the time, we were very interested in single-rear-axle aerial ladders. We visited with two manufacturers of singe-rear-axle quints and looked at two nearby vehicles of that type. Then we became aware that KME was putting a pump and water tank on its Tuff Truck. He notes that a major difference with KME’s Tuff Truck is that the overall length on the vehicle is shorter than typical, even though it has dual rear axles. “Besides that, the jack spread is significantly shorter than many other models of aerials,” he adds.
Linus Murphy, salesman at Bulldog Fire Apparatus, who sold the Tuff Truck quint to Salisbury, calls the Salisbury Tuff Truck “a slim truck, designed for cities, where at full extension the jacks have a 12-foot spread. The jacks have oversized jack pads, so you don’t need auxiliary pads, and the vehicle can be short jacked at 10 feet.”
The Tuff Truck delivered to Salisbury is a 103-foot AerialCat™ steel, four-section, rear-mount ladder with 94 feet of horizontal reach, a 50-mph wind load rating, a 2.5:1 structural safety factor, a 500-pound dry tip load, and a 500-pound wet tip load flowing 1,500-gpm. Wheelbase on the vehicle is 227 inches, overall height is 11 feet 5 inches, overall length is 38 feet 4 inches, and has mitered corners to give the rig a 36-foot 9-inch turning radius.
The truck is powered by a 500-hp ISX12 diesel engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission, has a Hendrickson Ultimaxx suspension, and carries a Hale Qmax XS 1,500-gpm single-stage pump and a 650-gallon UPF Poly IIE water tank.
Murphy notes that the aerial ladder quint has an Elkhart Brass EXM Cobra 1,500-gpm monitor at the tip, carries 172 feet of ground ladders, has ROM roll-up doors, USSC Valor seats in the cab that seats six with an EMS compartment on the rear wall, and a FRC 360-degree camera. The vehicle also has Whelen LED emergency lighting, FireTech HiViz and FRC scene lighting, and FRC SOBRITE LED lights at the aerial’s tip and at the bottom of the ladder.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.