Valdosta Fire Department presents its new truck

By: Amber Spradley | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 18, 2020

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Valdosta Fire Department debuted its new air and light truck to the public Tuesday. The vehicle will be replacing the department's current truck from 1996. In a structure fire, Chief Brian Boutwell says it typically takes about 15 to 18 minutes for a firefighter to run low on air.

When that happens, they're required to exit the structure. But the new air and light truck is equipped with a mobile air system that allows firefighters to pre-stage full bottles. They'll now be able to swap out tanks on the job, getting back to work and continuously refilling bottles at a faster rate.

According to the fire chief, the new truck cost about £225,000 and was paid for through their fund from the city. "We're just thankful for the support that we get - we continue to get - from our city officials and elected officials that allow us to make the improvements to continue the mission of customer service, so that we can continue providing the service that our customers are accustomed to, as well as take care of our personnel that are providing that service," Chief Boutwell said. The truck also features an awning on both sides to protect crews from inclement weather and telescoping lights to illuminate the scene.
Out of all the additions, Battallion Chief Frank McMillan says he's most proud of the mobile air system.

"We're mobile now," Battallion Chief Frank McMillan said. "We don't have to shove bottles back and forth. We don't have to pull somebody away from the scene and put them in a trunk and take them back and waste - you know, we start depleting our manpower when we start shoving bottles around." The team is still training with the new equipment, but Boutwell says they plan to have the truck on the road within the next couple of weeks.

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