LIMERICK >> In the event of a fire in an assisted living facility, with elderly residents trapped on an upper floor, it’s crucial that fire companies have a rapid and safe way to rescue them.
Just such an assisted living facility, along with commercial buildings and townhomes, are what’s on tap for Limerick Township when the proposed Limerick Town Center project at Ridge and Swamp Pike, becomes a reality. That prospect was one of the justifiable reasons that Limerick Fire Company recently purchased and placed in service a $1.2 million 2018 E-One 95-foot tower ladder--the first tower ladder in the company’s history.
Limerick Fire Company’s 40 active volunteers respond to over 550 emergencies annually. “The majority of these calls takes place in the center core business occupancy of Ridge and Swamp Pike, Lewis Road, and Airport Road, which are the areas that would benefit from the tower ladder,” Gregory Breyer, Director of Emergency Services for Limerick Township, pointed out.
The new multi-functional tower ladder is capable of tackling both rescue and fire operations. At the tip of the ladder is a stainless steel enclosed bucket. “The tower ladder would be appropriate at an assisted living facility,” explained Michael Latshaw, chairman of the tower ladder committee. “It’s much safer to escort elderly residents into an enclosed bucket. They could be scared, disoriented, and have trouble walking.”
Another rescue feature of the tower ladder is a full complement of various size ground ladders which are used on two-, three-story residential homes and commercial establishments.
When fighting residential and building fires, there needs to be two ways out for the people trapped and for the firefighters, said Latshaw. “Let’s say, there are no people trapped; however, a firefighter might find himself in peril. In that situation, all he has to do is quickly hop onto the ladder and let himself down.”
For firefighting purposes the tower ladder is equipped with a 1,250 gallons-per-minute pre-piped waterway where the water is supplied from an engine. Mounted firmly in front of the bucket is the deck gun, which shoots the water directly onto the fire and is manually controlled by a firefighter who is safely inside the bucket. From within the bucket, the firefighter can also perform ventilization by using a tool to cut a hole into a roof.