Saturday, March 8, 2008

SJFD Demonstrations Live Up to Advanced Billing

Everyone went away happy after the FASCV March Monthly Meeting! That's because of the excellent demonstrations put on by the crew of Station No. 1 and Battalion Chief Kevin Conant.

Through a special arrangement, one of San Jose Fire's two new aerial ladder trucks was available for viewing and a exhibition of it's 103-foot ladder. With FASCV members looking on, as well as members of the Station 1 crew, one of the eager "truckies" donned protective gear and climbed to the tip of the fully-extended ladder. Once at the tip, he demonstrated the benefits of the truck's built-in ladder-to-ground communication system. Engineers explained to the group that these 60-foot-long, articulated vehicles are actually much more maneuverable through tight city streets and narrow residential areas than any truck now operated by SJFD.

Next on the agenda was a tour of the S.J. Fire's new Communication Van. Chief Conant proudly led FASCV members into the former bookmobile where he explained its capabilities. Featured within the unit are two banks of radios (one for dispatchers and the other for command staff), access to a wide variety of external video sources (including a mast-mounted camera and down links from airborne video sources), a big screen TV for viewing the fire scene, and computer printers for printing out photos and reports. Creature features include air conditioning, bright lighting, and a massive amount of custom-built cabinetry that is entirely faced with "whiteboard" material for on-the-spot record-keeping.

After the tours, it was obvious to all who attended that San Jose firefighters will soon have two first-rate pieces of equipment at their disposal.

John Whitaker's photos of the event can be viewed at: FASCV March Meeting