The Morris Fire Department bought a new fire truck that fire chief Dave Dybdal said is safer for firefighters and the public. That's not all, it will also save the taxpayers money, he said.


The new 2019 E-One, eMax Typhoon fire truck arrived Monday, April 1, and was activated for service on Wednesday, April 3. The truck's original price was $625,000 but the department received $125,000 on a fire engine in a trade in which cut the cost, Dybdal said.


The truck will be the first on the scene of a vehicle crash or fire incident.


The truck is a combined fire rescue and pumper truck that will replace two fire trucks, Dybdal said. "This replaces a fire engine and rescue truck," Dybdal said. "Before we ran two separate vehicles to (an incident)."


One half of the vehicle is geared toward rescue and other half is geared toward fire. Because the truck replaces two vehicles, that will save taxpayers money in the long term, Dybdal said.


When the truck committee of himself, Pete Hentges, Matt Solemsaas and John Lembcke began talking about a new truck four years ago, it wanted safety features and efficiencies, Dybdal said.


Truck captain Jeremiah Day said the truck is an example of how far technology has advanced when it comes to safety.


The truck won't move unless every firefighter has a secured seatbelt. The truck also has an advanced warning light and warning siren system.


Day said today's vehicles are designed to keep out noise so it can be tough for motorists to hear a fire truck's siren. Also, the warning lights on older trucks may have been tougher for motorists to see.


"This new truck has louder sirens and more warning lights," Day said. "It's just as important for motorists to see us as it is to hear us."


The truck also has a tower light on top of the cab. "We can set that up and light up half a football field," Dybdal said. The extra light will be valuable, especially for night incidents, Dybdal said.


"We have a lot of technology on board," Day said of the cab's interior. The driver can focus on driving while the truck captain can communicate with dispatch, operate lights and sirens and handle other tasks, Day said.


The truck captain and driver have an independent communication system that allows them to talk to each other and to dispatch but unlike now, they won't hear the conversation between the firefighters in the rear of the cab. The firefighters in the rear of the cab have their own independent communication system so they can talk to each other without disturbing the captain and driver.


Day said the back of the cab can also be converted to a mobile command site. The cab has electrical outlets, "and the ability to integrate a laptop, tablet..."


Dydal said when the committee decided it wanted a combined rescue and fire truck it also knew it wanted features that make it safer and easier for firefighters to reach equipment.


The back end of the truck holds a compartment from which firefighters can access water holding tank and other equipment. That equipment is held in an upright drawer/type compartment that sits at eye or shoulder level for a firefighter. Dybdal said the tank and equipment can be pulled out by firefighters so they can reach the tank and equipment. Firefighters don't have to climb on the endgate and reach up to the top of the fire truck for the water tank and equipment. Such a climb and reach can be dangerous when it's icy, he said.


Compartments on each side of the truck hold the equipment and hoses for either the rescue or fire incident.


These also have pull-out vertical shelves or drawers or tip-down shelves.


"This is all better for safety," Dybdal said.


A storage compartment at the front of the truck holds about 200 feet of hose. Dybdal said that compartment is at an easy access level for firefighters.


Day said while the city of Morris will be benefit from the truck, the fire department also provides primary service or mutual aid throughout all of Stevens County. This combined fire and rescue truck would be the truck that responds to incidents outside the Morris fire district, Day said.


The truck has a 750 gallon water tank and the ability to pump 1,500 gallons of water per minute. Day and Dybdal said it's unlikely the pumping capacity would ever be needed because it is a requirement at the extreme level.


It took 19 months to build the truck. The chassis and cab were built in Ocala, Florida. The body was built in Buffalo, New York.The department bought it through Fire Safety U.S.A. out of Rochester.


"I'm really happy with the end result," Dybdal said. "Whenever you combine two trucks, it's a challenge."


The committee worked hard and reviewed many details. "Line by line by line," Day said.


The fire department planned to show the truck to the Morris City Council at the April 9 meeting.

Too see a video about the new fire truck, click this link.