The U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Fire Department has a new weapon in its fire fighting arsenal: an aerial ladder truck with articulating arm. “The ladder, when fully extended, can reach a height of 100 feet,” said Matthias Künast, a USAG Stuttgart firefighter and one of four trainers for the new piece of equipment. “It means we can rescue people from the top floors at the Panzer and Kelley Hotels.”
The truck features an articulating arm that allows the upper section of the ladder to tilt separately from the lower half, facilitating rescue from recessed roof windows and mansard roofs. The rescue basket, with a capacity of four people and 450 kilograms, can also accommodate a stretcher or be used for elevated water delivery. It replaces the fire department’s almost 25-year-old ladder truck.
The new truck was part of a consolidated purchase by Installation Management Command-Europe. Eight trucks were fielded on Sept. 2 to Army garrison fire stations at Stuttgart, Hohenfels, Grafenwöhr, Ansbach, Baumholder and Baden-Württemberg, reducing the garrisons’ financial burden for maintenance and leasing.
The 35 foot truck is powered by a 360 horsepower diesel engine, yet with a rear steer axel, is very maneuverable. “It’s great to drive,” Künast said.
Currently, garrison firefighters are being trained on driving techniques and ladder mechanisms. Fire officials expect the truck to go into service at the end of the month.
The aerial ladder truck will be one of several on display at the garrison’s Fire Protection Open House Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Panzer Exchange.