West Valley City • No matter what the emergency, the Fire Department's new vehicle is equipped to handle it.
The 34-foot-long truck combines a firefighter engine with an ambulance built into the middle. Putting together the two functions means crew members need just one vehicle to be prepared for whatever they find at a scene.
And a special lift system for stretchers one that's found on only three fire trucks in the nation makes it easier to place patients in the ambulance.
"It's basically all-in-one," Battalion Chief Chris Beichner said.
The $602,000 fire truck was manufactured by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisc. Working with the local dealer, Ross Equipment in Midvale, fire officials picked from hundreds of specifications to customize the vehicle.
Other cities have vehicles that combine firefighting and emergency medical response functions, but the lift is an added feature found only on West Valley's truck and on two in Florida. On standard trucks, firefighters have to pick up and push the back end of a stretcher into the ambulance. The lift can hold the entire stretcher.
Another plus is the space in the ambulance, which has room on both sides of the stretcher for paramedics, Capt. Mark Ownsbey said. On other trucks, paramedics have to work from one side because the stretcher is against a wall.
The engine/ambulance will be used by firefighters at Station 71, 4160 S. 6400 West. Because only one vehicle will roll on calls, the station can be staffed with a crew of four; taking both a fire engine and an ambulance requires five fire personnel.
Station 71 typically responds to six to eight calls a day, with three to five transports, according to Beichner. The current response time of five to eight minutes is expected to remain the same, he said.
There are five fire stations in West Valley City, and the Fire Department responds to about 10,000 calls a year.