Alabaster is the home of a new life-saving piece of equipment: the Sutphen Aerial Tower 19 ladder truck, which is able to reach 100 feet into the air.

According to Deputy Chief Pat Conn, this new piece of equipment is key to the future protection of not only current properties, but future structures as well. “The 100-foot reach is fairly standard and will allow us to service every building we have in the city now, and future needs as well,” he said.

The reach is measured from the ground to the railing on the platform, and the pumping capacity is over 2,000 gallons a minute, which is a high volume of water to place right where our firefighters need it.

The truck was designed and built with Alabaster in mind.

“The truck has a mid-mounted ladder as opposed to a rear mount, which means that it will keep the weight more centrally located. It also has the platform hanging off the end so that it will fit into our current fire stations. We also shortened the cabin, which gave us two benefits, one being it has a shorter wheelbase allowing it to be more maneuverable, and the second benefit is that it is shorter, so it fits better in our bays,” he shared.

The new Tower 19, as it is being called, will also house new equipment that will be called upon for fires and car accidents involving serious injuries. It will also carry all the rope rescue equipment.

All this equipment must also be manned for it to be used effectively. “We have increased our staffing by three just for this new truck. It will have its own dedicated set of drivers. And we will cross-train our other drivers as well. Tower 19 will never go out alone to a site but will be accompanied by a pumper truck with its complement of fire fighters,” Deputy Chief Conn shared.

The fire department is currently testing and training on the Tower 19 so that when the call comes, they will be fully prepared to render aid when and where it is needed most.