For firefighters at the Pasco Fire Department it isn't so much about the size of the "stick," but what they can do with it.
Although the 109-foot ladder attached to Pasco's new 41-foot fire truck is now the longest in the Tri-Cities, it's the vehicle's user-friendly design that has firefighters most eager to use it.
Wednesday, the department unveiled the 38-ton truck at Fire Station 2 next to the Tri-Cities Airport. The truck cost the city just under $737,000 and it has about $80,000 in modifications that fire crews hope will make them more efficient.
"This brings a lot of capabilities to the greater community," said Battalion Chief Dave Hare.
Among the new additions to the truck, which will replace a 15-year-old fire truck with a shorter ladder, are the extended ladder, a front hose connection, larger storage areas and better technology to control the ladder.
The storage compartments will allow crews to carry extraction equipment in front, making it both a rescue vehicle and a fire truck.
And that will cut down on the number of vehicles that have to respond to incidents, Hare said.
Battalion Chief Don Donais has spent the past year coming up with modifications for the truck to fit specific needs of the department.
The truck, which is designed by Rosenbauer and was built in South Dakota, can pump 2,000 gallons of water per minute, Hare said. And the hose hookup in the front near the ladder will allow firefighters to better contain fires directly under the ladder.
A wireless remote can be used to control the stream of the front hose and will allow firefighters to direct the stream from anywhere.
"That is really important," Donais said. "It means we don't have to be at (a) stationary spot trying to get the right level."
The truck also is equipped with Green Star technology that makes it more fuel efficient while it's parked at scenes for long periods of time.
Green Star has saved some departments thousands of dollars, Donais said.
The extended ladder will allow crews to fight fires from higher positions and better angles, he said. The ladder on the old truck is 85 feet.
The city paid for the truck from the general fund and has been budgeting for it as its other truck approached the 15-year mark, which is usually about the time they begin to shut down, Hare said.
The department hopes to begin using the truck by July after everyone in the department has trained with it and it's stocked with equipment.
-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Ty_richardson