By Mike Ciampo
The Tallman Volunteer Fire Department is located in Rockland County, NY, a suburb of New York City. The fire district is situated in the Town of Ramapo and the firehouse is located on Route 59 in Tallman, a hamlet of Ramapo. The department serves the following communities: Airmont, Montebello, Portions of Monsey, Suffern, and Wesley Hills. The department covers a wide array of structures, from residential homes, shopping plazas, condominiums, townhomes, hotels, and light industrial buildings. They also respond to numerous auto fires and extrications on the heavily traveled New York State Thruway (I-87). The department was founded in 1909 and one of their first orders of business was to figure out how to sound the alarm. Luckily, a local church agreed to let the department use their bell to signal firefighters to respond to a fire call.
Years have passed and the Tallman Fire Department has grown significantly, much like the area it protects. Seeing the need to update their equipment, a truck committee was formed to purchase a new aerial tower. The members agreed on the purchase of a Pierce Ascendant 100-foot, heavy-duty aerial tower. The rig has an Arrow XT tilt cab with seating for six firefighters and chassis with an overall height of 10 feet, 11 inches. It is painted in a white-over-red paint scheme and the aerial ladder is red. White reflective striping runs along the lower portion of the cab and then runs diagonally up the side of one compartment to a horizontal position toward the rear. It is powered by a Cummins X15 600 hp engine and has an Allison 4500 EVS transmission. The front suspension is an independent TAK-4 system, while the rear is an air ride system. The truck is also equipped with a 2,000 gpm Waterous mid-ship single-stage pump and 300-gallon water tank. It also has an aluminum body with Amdor roll-up compartment doors and hinged door compartments over the wheel wells for SCBA and fire extinguisher storage. Heated Lang Mekra mirrors adorn the sides of the cab assisting the chauffeur during periods of inclement weather. Two Grover air horns are recessed in the bumper and there’s a Federal Q2B siren as audible warning devices.
The rig also boasts a Command Zone electrical system, and it has a Kussmaul shore line power with auto-eject feature. The truck is equipped with a Whelen lighting package, with Freedom IV light bars and traffic directing light in the rear. A Fire Research 3-way intercom system allows communication from the aerial’s bucket to the pump panel or pedestal position. To assist the chauffeur to position the outriggers, stabilizer placement cameras are located on each side of the apparatus and a rear back-up camera assists with backing-up operations. Rung lighting also helps light up the aerial ladder to enhance climbing operations. The aerial tower’s bucket is equipped with two electrically controlled Elkhart Brass Boa 2000 water cannons; one has a fog nozzle and the other has a straight tip.
20 Tower (as recognized by the county’s radio title) carries 800 feet of 5-inch large diameter hose in its rear-facing hose bed and has two cross lay compartments behind the crew cab which each carry 200 feet of 1 ¾-inch hose. The rear ladder compartment is very unique and carries the following ladders: two 35-foot extension, one 28-foot extension, one 20-foot roof, one 16-foot roof, two 10-foot folding ladders, one 14-foot double hook roof ladder on the fly of the aerial ladder, and a Little Giant utility ladder in a side compartment.
In addition to the ladders in the rear compartment, there are six hooks, assorted 4×4 cribbing and two 4x6x6 cribbing planks, for spanning over utility covers. These two pieces of cribbing are stored in a unique fashion, in tubular receptacles in the ladder trough compartment. Mounted on the fly section of the ladder to make it easier in getting a saw up to the roof, there are two saw boxes mounted. The boxes carry a chainsaw and a rotary saw. Additional saws are carried in the saw compartment. A metal Stokes basket is also secured in brackets on the bed section of the aerial ladder.
The saw compartment has two roll-out trays and a stationary tray above the two. The bottom tray holds a Husqvarna K970 forcible entry rotary saw, an assortment of extra blades, bar oil, and fuel. The middle roll-out tray holds a Stihl MS 290 chainsaw and plastic funnels for refueling operations. The top stationary tray holds a portable monitor nozzle and a recharging station for cordless batteries. In the vertical storage space to the left of these shelves, there is a Little Giant utility ladder. Just behind the saw compartment, in the last rear compartment, there is a tool box shelf set-up. The fronts of the shelves are cabinet style and to open them the yellow tab must be pressed downward to allow the draw fronts to open. There are heavy-duty grab handles on the draws which hold (from top to bottom): sockets, wrenches, screw drivers, pliers, pry bars, reciprocal saw and blades, cordless drills, impact driver, grinder, hammer, and hacksaws.
Tallman Fire Department has put together a very nicely laid out apparatus with modern tools and equipment. The truck is able to maneuver around tight condominium complexes and narrow roadways located on steep hills in its response district. 20 Tower has become a welcome addition to Tallman’s arsenal of firefighting apparatus.