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Fire Department gets rescue truck specifically designed for situations firefighters encounter locally

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The latest addition to the Rome-Floyd County Fire Department's fleet is expected to hit the streets Friday.

Fire Chief Troy Brock showed off the custom-designed Pierce heavy rescue pump truck Monday to the Rome City Commission.

"This is a piece of history," Brock said, noting that it's the first time since 1983 the department ordered anything other than Sutphen fire apparatus. It's also the launch of a new color scheme — red with a black top and gold lettering — and the first time they've bought a truck loaded with new equipment.

Brad Roberson, the department's chief of operations, said the $520,000 truck plus extras came out to about $560,000. Local fire officials spent more than a year working with the supplier on a design especially suited to the type of calls they get in Rome and Floyd County, he said, and the hoses, nozzles and appliances are state-of-the art.

"It can pump out of a large hose, 5 inches in diameter," said Sgt. Alex Routt, showing off the side control panel on the truck, Engine 2, that he'll be driving after three days of in-house training this week.

There are controls for a secondary hose if one is needed to wet down nearby structures while firefighters are battling a blaze. And the air horn button is there, close at hand, if a spotter has to signal quick evacuation of a building that looks as if it's going to collapse.

Routt guided city commissioners and other officials around the truck, expounding on the variety of equipment neatly stored behind its panels. Oxygen, trench rescue devices, a power unit, rappelling gear and extrication tools are among the bounty.

"The truck is designed to carry as much equipment as possible," Roberson said. "Everything to get them started until a specialized unit arrives."

The department already has one rescue truck with extrication equipment, often called the jaws of life. Roberson said now there will be one stationed at each end of the county.

"The key to life safety in auto accidents is getting them out and to the hospital as quickly as possible," he said.

Ten-8 sales representative Gary Binion, who lives in Rome, oversaw the lengthy custom-design project and the Monday delivery of the finished product. He said the new heavy rescue pump truck represents "the next step in the evolution" of firefighting in Floyd County.

"Over the years, buildings change. They get taller, streets get narrower. The trucks kind of evolve from the places they've got to get into," he said.

Funding is from a previous budget allocation. The 2017 special purpose, local option sales tax package contains more than $3.4 million to upgrade the department's facilities, equipment and fleet.