Utility Truck Designed for Convenience
“A place for everything, and everything in its place” is an old motto put to modern application by the Aberdeen, S. D., Fire Department, and exemplified in its smartly arranged utility truck.
The unit was designed by Chief B. L. Mehner and Asst. Chief C. J. Myers and catne about as the aftermath of a fire in the South Dakota city in which 18 firemen were overcome by smoke and gas while fighting the blaze.
Shortly after leaving his bed in the hospital where he and his men were taken from the fire scene, Chief Mehner went into action, and phoned his order for breathing equipment.
But this was only the first step in the plan. The next was to have them available so that no time would be lost in the men getting them and putting them to good use. This involved the principles of transportation and stowage and accessibility.
The solution was found in the department’s utility unit, which answers all calls and which carries compartmentization in full. It houses such essentials as an electric generating plant, forcible entry tools, 100 feet of ladders, first aid supplies, 40 gallons of foam chemicals, 10 salvage covers, 750 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, 200 feet of 3/4-inch booster hose and 400 feet of 1 1/2-inch hose.
And tucked away, but readily available, in a series of separate shelves are 10 Chemox apparatus units.
Fast fire attack and rescue are major objectives of the 26 members of the Aberdeen Fire Department, who serve a population of more than 26,000. And few things contribute more to fast attack and rescue than modern breathing equipment.
In the Aberdeen Department no precious seconds are lost by fire fighters, in getting masks, for a turn of a handle on the utility rig is all that is necessary to uncover the breathing apparatus, all ready for action. Canisters containing the oxygen generating chemical are stored in the compartments alongside the breathing apparatus.