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RVFD gets ladder truck

March 16, 2011
Ramsey Volunteer Fire Department has purchased an aerial ladder truck that is expected to benefit not only the Ramsey fire district but possibly the county.

Ned Wiseman, Ramsey's fire chief, said the 75-foot truck, a used 1998 Ferrara, was purchased for $310,000 from a company in Brindlee Mountain, Ala. It was picked up late January.

Ned Wiseman, left, chief of the Ramsey Volunteer Fire Department, shows Jackson Township Trustee Joe Martin the recently purchased 75-foot aerial truck. With them are Ramsey firefighters Kyle Dement, right, and Brian Bowles. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
"It came with some equipment, basic tools," Wiseman said. "We're going to have to buy a few more things."

The purchase was made possible by $200,000 from the Harrison County Council and the balance given by Jackson Township Trustee Joe Martin. (Ramsey VFD serves Jackson Township as well as Spencer and Blue River townships.)

"That was a huge asset," Wiseman said of the money received from the township trustee.

Now that Harrison County has two aerial trucks, Wiseman expects the county's ISO rating to be lowered.

"They (Insurance Services Office) won't recognize one aerial but they will two," said Wiseman, who succeeded Lonnie Leake as Ramsey's fire chief on July 1. "I've contacted ISO to let them know we have it. They will let us know if it will lower our (insurance) rates."

Wiseman, who has been on Ramsey's department since 1994, said "quite extensive" training is required before the truck can be put into service. He plans to train a handful of his department's members, who will, in turn, train the rest of the department. Later, he will offer a countywide training session.

Martin said he wanted to help with the purchase because he thought it would be good for the county to have two aerial trucks.

"We have several structures up here, such as Tyson Foods, Schmidt Cabinets, Child Craft, and subdivisions that are full of two-story houses where this will probably be real handy to have," he said.

He was pleased that the fire department pursued purchasing a used truck, which cost about half as much as a new one.

"I didn't see any way to justify the cost of a new one," Martin said. "If we have one incident where it saves one life, it will be worth it."

Wiseman said the department is grateful to the county council and Martin for making the purchase possible, as well as the Harrison County Fire Chiefs' Association, which has helped make things like getting needed equipment possible.

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