This and other newer additions are part of a 10-year effort to modernize the SHFD’s fleet to allow the Department to provide the
same level of service, with fewer hands on deck. “The recession in the mid-2000s forced us to think outside the box. We lost about 30
percent of our staff and could not use the equipment we had,” explains Sweeney.
For example, the “quint” truck (quintuple combination pumper) at Fire Station 1, which went into service in 2017, allows the
Department to do with one truck what it used to do with two. “The quint has a long ladder up top and it can also pump 1,500 gallons
of water a minute,” notes Sweeney. This particular style of quint was also the first to offer a ladder long enough to reach the third
floors found in most of the City’s homes, while also having just one rear axle, which enables the truck to handle the tighter turns on
The City’s ambulances are another example of how modernizing the equipment is enabling the Department to continue to
provide high levels of service. About 60 percent of the Department’s calls are for medical emergencies; all the City’s firefighters are
also trained paramedics. Now each ambulance is equipped with a system called the LIFEPACK 15, which allows the paramedic to
diagnose and begin treating an acute cardiac event immediately. “We can do a 12-lead EKG and then send that EKG to the hospital,
so they know exactly what to expect when the patient arrives,” says Sweeney. “It’s also got a defibrillator, and can take vital signs.
It’s amazing.” SL
WWW.SHAKER .LIFE | WINTER 2020 9