Hutchinson displays new platform fire truck at fair

By Cheyenne Derksen
Hutchinson News – September 11, 2018

Photo by Sandra J. Milburn

Fairgoers of all ages got an up-close look at the newest addition to the Hutchinson Fire Department’s fleet.

Deputy fire chief Doug Hanen said the platform truck arrived Sunday, just in time for Monday’s annual emergency preparedness exhibit of vehicles.

“We pushed pretty hard to get it here on time since we always have a truck here and we thought it would be a good time to show everybody,” Hanen said.

The truck shakes up the department’s white-over-red design with the top half of the truck painted black and the rest red.

“It was on schedule to be replaced, so this go-round, we thought we’d change the color scheme,” Hanen said. “We’ve also changed the graphics. A lot of guys shared input and it turned out beautiful.”

Inside, the truck offers a number of new features.

“We’ve had a platform truck since 1998, but it was cross-man, which means they’d take a smaller vehicle, and then to fires, they’d take this truck,” Hanen explained.

Three years ago, the department shifted to full-time truck companies. Three firefighters travel in the truck to all structure fires. While an engine company is using hoses to put out the fire, the truck company is on the roof, searching for people or completing other ancillary tasks. This means the platform truck driver needs to suit up quickly.

“Here, the driver will keep his gear in this one compartment,” Hanen said. “On the old truck, there were a couple different compartments to get the equipment. We put some work into this compartment and in how we wanted to lay it out.”

Behind the cab is a separate compartment specifically for housing gear after a fire.

As part of the department’s cancer-fighting initiative, the compartment keeps equipment away from firefighters to reduce contact with carcinogens on the material.

“More and more, firefighters die from cancer after they retire. Part of that is because we put our bunker gear back in the cab when we’re done. With the compartments, the gear will be kept separate from the cab.”

When they get back to the station, firefighters use extractors to wash carcinogens from the gear. One HFD station currently has one, an 18-year-old extractor that washes one set of gear at a time, and there’s money budgeted for 2019 to outfit the other six stations with extractors that can wash three sets at a time.

At the fair, mostly children were interested in peeking inside the massive platform truck, though several parents took a look as well.

Hanen hopes these encounters encourage young people to feel comfortable with first-responders in an emergency.

“When we go to schools, we make sure to get dressed in our gear, since we look pretty scary when we have our masks on and everything. We try to show kids that there’s just a person underneath,” Hanen said. “It also allows them to see it up close and understand what we do.”

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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