HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — As the community on and around Hill Air Force Base continues to grow, the need for specialized fire rescue equipment is increasing as well.
This summer, Hill AFB’s Fire and Emergency Services acquired new equipment including a 100-foot ladder truck to replace the department’s 16-year-old truck, a new heavy-brush truck to respond to wildfires and a vehicle equipped with highly-specialized rescue tools.
Fire Capt. Zachary Olds said the new vehicles will enhance the department’s ability to respond to emergencies.
“The ladder truck is a unique asset for the department,” Olds said. “This fire apparatus will permit the fire department responders to quickly gain an elevated position, allowing them to perform quicker and safer operations at the scene of an emergency.”
The ladder truck has a larger water tank and shorter wheelbase allowing it to navigate on confined roadways. In addition, it will serve as an anchor for technical rescue operations.
This month, the department showed the capability of the new ladder truck to Col. Jon Eberlan, 75th Air Base Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, 75th ABW command chief.
Firefighters created two “live fires” as part of a training demonstration to show how fire behaves and explain how different fire conditions change the department’s approach to extinguishing it.
Hill AFB encompasses a wide variety of structures ranging from large, single-story buildings dating back to World War II, to the high-tech modern high-rises currently under construction near the West Gate.
There are also several hangars that house aircraft under maintenance.
Olds said with the modern changes in building type, size, and construction, the new ladder truck provides them a much-needed capability.
In addition to the ladder truck, the department’s new heavy-brush truck, also known as the “battle wagon,” is designed for heavy use during wildfire season.
Hill AFB has more than 6,000 acres defined as “wildland-urban interface,” meaning it has homes and businesses that merge with undeveloped wildland vegetation.
Fire Capt. Cory Linglebach said the vehicle can travel quickly and effectively on rough terrain.
“Carrying 500 gallons of water and 20 gallons of Class-A Foam, the vehicle will be a great benefit to the department and Hill Air Force Base community,” Linglebach said.
Battalion Fire Chief Golden Barrett said the new, medium-rescue vehicle is also a welcome asset for the department.
He referred to it as a “mobile toolbox,” and said it’s outfitted with specialized rescue equipment to respond to injuries, motor vehicle crashes, aircraft emergencies, medical service calls, rescue incidents, and structure fires.
“We are excited to add this vehicle to our fleet,” Barrett said. “It will allow us more versatility to serve our Hill Air Force Base community and the tools to respond to any emergency that occurs on base.”`