Morenci Fire Dept. trains with new truck 02.17.2010

Written by David Green.

Morenci Fire Department members continue training in the operation of the used 85-foot aerial platform truck purchased from Archbold.front.firetruck.jpg

Although the truck is 35 years old, it has only 130 hours of use and is described as being in almost new condition.

The city bought the unit for $15,000. The Archbold department was eager to sell the truck to Morenci, Fire Chief Chad Schisler told city council last year, in order to have another aerial unit in the area when needed.

During training last weekend, Morenci’s training coordinator Matt Simpkins explained that teams of department members learned the capabilities of the truck to know “what can and can’t be done.”

A specialist in aerial trucks from Ann Arbor led the training sessions.

With the truck parked Sunday afternoon behind Dunbar Furniture, Simpkins said that truck placement is always a big concern due to overhead wires.

The extension ladder was maneuvered around wires before rising up to the roof.

Earlier in the day, the truck made a trip to Lyons at the invitation of that community’s fire department.

“Each community is different,” Simpkins said. “There are lots of overhead wire in Lyons.”

Utility lines in Lyons are strung throughout the downtown rather than in back of businesses as in Morenci.

Additional training sites over the weekend included Morenci’s Methodist church and Palm Plastics.

At the church, Simpkins said, truck placement was studied in regard to the “collapse zone.” If the building were to fall outward, the truck should be positioned to avoid a collapsing wall.

“We’ve had a lot of training sessions since we got the truck,” Simpkins said.

Five or six department members meet each week to become familiar with the unit and address safety concerns.

The training sessions this weekend followed a slow, methodical pattern, Simpkins explained, but in the future real-life drills will be used. Each training session will be followed by a critiquing process to look for strengths and weaknesses.

“I definitely think this is going to be an asset to the community,” Simpkins said.

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