The Valdosta Fire Department unveiled four new fire trucks on Nov. 30 that replaced four 18-year-old pumper trucks in its current fleet at stations 2,3,4 and 6. The new trucks are front line pumpers that are custom-built with the latest and most updated equipment and meet the current National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and the fire safety needs of the city.
The trucks represent a $1.9 million investment in our community, paid for with a combination of SPLOST VII funding approved by voters and through a very low-interest loan through the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) Lease Pool Program.
“These new vehicles were unanimously approved by the Valdosta City Council on January 21, 2016, on the same day that our Valdosta Fire Department officially received its Class 1 Insurance Service Office rating—the highest rating a fire department can receive,” said Mayor John Gayle. “Maintaining our top ISO rating is critical to keeping our insurance premiums low and demonstrates that Valdosta is a great place to live and do business.”
The new trucks have a 1,000-gallon water tank on them, an upgrade from the 500-gallon tank of the existing trucks. The ability to hold more gallons helps the department maintain the current ISO rating and is essential for single-engine responses, while also improving services in areas with limited water supply.
In addition, sizeable interior storage allows firefighters to properly secure firefighting equipment to meet NFPA standards.
Some advanced safety features on the vehicles include backup and blind-spot cameras to help prevent accidents and enhance visibility for its drivers. These features are essential for maneuvering the trucks into tight spaces. The additional LED lighting system on the trucks will improve day and nighttime visibility. The vehicles also feature a low-frequency siren that allows motorists to hear the emergency vehicles before they can be seen, something that is critical when maneuvering through busy intersections and congested traffic.
An exhaust removal system built into the new vehicles removes hazardous exhaust when the vehicles are in operation and improves the air quality in the fire stations by filtering the vehicle emissions internally.
“The men and women of the Valdosta Fire Department, fully backed by the support of our mayor and city council, have worked hard to achieve the Class 1 ISO rating, and now we must work even-harder to maintain it,” said Chief Freddie Broome. “These vehicles, equipped with the new safety features, modern technology and advanced equipment, will help us maintain our ISO rating and, most importantly, help us keep our community safe.”
At the Nov. 30 event, the fire department also displayed its 1927 and 1998 fire trucks to demonstrate the advancements of these life-saving vehicles and the continued mission of the fire department.
Two of older trucks will be put into the reserve fleet to be used only when repairs or preventable maintenance is necessary to the newer trucks. The other two older vehicles will be sold on the GovDeals website, or they will be sold to another municipality.
“The city is proud of the fine men and women of the Valdosta Fire Department who do an incredible service for our citizens each and every day, and we are confident that these new fire vehicles will maintain the excellent services that our residents and businesses expect,” said City Manager Larry Hanson.
For additional information, contact the VFD at 229-333-1835.