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New Heavy Rescue Vehicle

There's a new fire truck in town.  The truck replaces an old heavy rescue vehicle that was purchased in 1995.  After 16 months from the drawing board to the finished truck, the Lansing Fire Department took possession of it's new heavy rescue vehicle Saturday, and lost no time training drivers and putting the new apparatus into service.  The truck was built in Wisconsin, then transported to Syracuse for equipment installation, and where six Lansing firefighters received hands-on training.  It arrived in Lansing Saturday morning.  Drivers were trained immediately, and the truck was officially in service by Saturday afternoon. After another training session for six more drivers Tuesday evening, Deputy Chief Brad George says that 2/3 of the department's drivers are already trained to operate the vehicle.

"That truck is, primarily, our tool box," George says. "It holds all our extrication equipment, a cascade system for refilling air bottles on the scene, it's got extensive scene lighting, EMS equipment, cold water rescue equipment...  that piece of apparatus has a tool that would be used on any scene that we would respond to.

Scroll down or click here to see a picture tour of Lansing's new heavy rescue vehicle.
The vehicle cost $934,000, and equipment put the total over a million dollars.  Fire trucks don't get as good gas mileage as little sedans.  George estimates the new vehicle gets eight or nine miles per gallon, and notes that the odometer reads about 1,1709 miles that account for the trips from Wisconsin and Syracuse.

"On a night like tonight we would have ten people in it," George said Tuesday. But he added that it only needs one person to operate it.  "One person can drive it, set it up, depending on the call.  If it were a support vehicle for a structure fire, one person would be operating it.  For an MVA (Motor-Vehicle Accident) you would need a compliment or people to do extrication and scene safety and things like that."

George and Fire Department member Asst. Chief Todd Mix were the principal designers, carefully choosing features and designing storage spaces to efficiently hold fire fighting and EMT equipment.  Lansing fire trucks are expected to last about a quarter of a century.  The previous heavy rescue vehicle came into service in 1995.

The Fire District maintains a 20-year schedule of projected tax revenues, reserve levels, and apparatus replacement.  Planning that far ahead allows the district to collect enough money to pay cash for its purchases, thus avoiding interest payments that would mean higher taxes.

George says his team will begin design work on a new pumper-tanker this year.  It is budgeted at about $930,000, though district officials say it may cost less based on the 3/4 of a million dollar pumper-tanker the district purchased three years ago.  It is expected to go into service in mid-2020, and may be housed in the outlying fire stations.

Fire District Treasurer George Gesslein reported Tuesday that an audit the district is conducting has revealed that an expected surplus will allow him to make a substantial contribution to the district's apparatus reserve that will pay for the new fire truck and future apparatus purchases.  Gesslein told the Fire Commissioners that a $600,000 to $700,000 surplus will mitigate a potential cash shortfall that is predicted in 2023/2024 when the aerial (ladder truck) that will cost well over a million dollars.

Last year the Lansing Volunteer Fire Department responded to 950 calls, 433 of them fire calls and 517 EMS emergencies.  Last month alone they responded to 79 calls, 25 of them fire calls that included two structure fires.  The heavy rescue truck goes on most of these calls not only to provide tools, but also because it acts as a mobile command center, with equipment to help the office in charge to oversee the whole emergency and stay in touch with fire fighters from Lansing, neighboring departments that may be lending a hand, police, and the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response (911 Call Center).

"Hopefully it will be here for a while and provide good service to the community," George says.

Lansing's Heavy Rescue VehicleAn American eagle graces the top of Lansing's newest fire apparatus

Lansing's Heavy Rescue Vehicle

Lansing's Heavy Rescue Vehicle

Lansing's Heavy Rescue VehicleLooking toward the front, the command center is just behind the cab where emergency responders ride to emergency calls

Lansing's Heavy Rescue VehicleA view from front to back.

Lansing's Heavy Rescue VehicleA view from the driver's seat

Lansing's Heavy Rescue Vehicle

Lansing's Heavy Rescue VehicleCompartments were designed carefully to most efficiently store equipment and make it accessible to fire fighters on the scene

Lansing's Heavy Rescue Vehicle
Lansing's Heavy Rescue Vehicle

Lansing's Heavy Rescue VehicleWhile training on the new vehicle was conducted inside Central Station Tuesday night, fire fighters trained on a pumper behind the station.

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