Raleigh Spotlights Its Firefighting Advances

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Connecting state and local government leaders

The city takes a look at the evolution of its tiller trucks, in a YouTube video letting residents know how much better things are today.

Over-the-top flame graphics and heavy metal music aside, Raleigh, North Carolina’s municipal government wants residents to know firefighting in the city is more advanced than it once was.

The City of Oaks employed a single tiller truck in its fire engine fleet for almost 100 years, beginning in 1916 with the American LaFrance Type 17 Aerial Ladder.

In 1939, the tractor was replaced with the American LaFrance 500 Series used until 1958.

“You can see in this video that the firemen really have no control once they release the ladder; it goes up to its full extension and is difficult to operate. To store the ladder and prepare the truck to move, you had to crank it down by hand using a lever,” says Ronald Campbell, deputy fire marshal, in this informational video . “This was time consuming and very difficult. It’s a lot different now, when everything is controlled by hydraulics.”

Raleigh’s fire department recently added a second tiller truck into operations for the first time—a 2015 Pierce Arrow XT Aerial Ladder. The fire engine has a 100-foot ladder just like the department’s $984,000 2010 Pierce Arrow XT, which hit the streets in November of that year.

Fundamentally the equipment hasn’t changed since its inception, with drivers in the front and back and a ladder on top.

“As time progresses, we look forward to adding new technologies to our fleet that will help us serve our citizens better and keep our firefighters safer,” Campbell says.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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