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Thursday, February 6, 2020

New fire truck put into service at ‘wet-down’ ceremony

New fire truck put into service at ‘wet-down’ ceremony

No matter the weather, the city’s Fire Department will be there in an emergency. With that same philosophy, the department held a wet-down/push-in ceremony in the snow on Monday, Feb. 3, to celebrate and put into service their new 107 foot aerial ladder truck.

The event is a tradition celebrated by fire departments to commission new fire apparatus by anointing it with water sprayed from the retiring fire truck. The ritual dates back to the late 1800s when horses that were commissioned for service would be washed along with the pumper at their newly assigned firehouse and backed into the firehouse bay.

To put the new truck into service, it was pulled out of the station and then pushed back (with some driver assistance) by the firefighters at Fire Station #2. Then water from the truck being put into reserve was sprayed onto the new truck, ceremoniously passing the torch to the new fire apparatus.

“The new truck has a 107 foot ladder on top and holds 470 gallons of water in its tank,” said Battalion Chief Dave Varney. “The truck being replaced had been in service for 11 years and will now be a reserve truck at fire station one.”

The new truck has a shorter front bumper than the previous one and was designed with a tighter turning radius to be able to navigate the city’s new Downtown and neighborhoods with less turning room in intersections.

“The new truck has a mechanical rear steer, so both the front and rear tires can turn at the same time, which allows its crew to turn sharper around corners,” said Engineer Devin Weadon. “It’s one of only two trucks in Colorado with this rear steer feature.”

The crew for this truck will be a technical capable team that is trained for high angle and low angle rescues. With this new truck’s capabilities and equipment, the firefighters have the right tools for shoring up house fires or handling difficult fire emergencies. Also included in the truck’s equipment are battery-operated extrication tools, such as the “Jaws of Life” which have a better range than the previous corded ones.

The truck is also the third in the fleet to have an external storage compartment that segregates used fire-fighting gear and prevent the firefighters from breathing chemical contaminants.

“We thank city staff, City Council, and the community for their support in helping us have the right equipment for any fire, fire rescue or medical emergency in Westminster,” said Varney.

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