Unified Fire Authority unveils new high-tech trucks

Photo: One of Unified Fire Authority’s tractor drawn aerial (TDA) fire trucks.

MILLCREEK, Utah — Unified Fire Authority is upgrading its fleet with five new trucks, adding significant technological upgrades and abilities to their firefighting efforts.

Each new tractor drawn aerial (TDA) fire truck is over 60 feet long, yet considerably more maneuverable than the department’s other trucks and engines. This maneuverability is possible because the trucks have steerable rear axles.

Watch: Fox 13 web producer steers rear axle of UFA truck in media demonstration.

“It’s versatile in any of the tight turn-arounds. Business parks,  a lot of apartments have really narrow entry and egress. Normally, a fire apparatus struggles to get in position for an emergency scene and might have limited capability because of that. With these new trucks, we can get anywhere. Anywhere that a small ambulance can get, we can get in this,” said Matthew McFarland, Unified Fire Authority spokesman.

The increased maneuverability also allows the trucks to:

  • enter and exit cul-de-sacs without reversing or making multi-point turns
  • drive in two lanes of traffic at once, with the cab in one lane and the rear in another
  • parallel park by “crabbing” (moving sideways)

Each truck has a 100-foot ladder on a turntable which can be controlled remotely, allowing the engineer to position the ladder from a clear vantage point.

“Usually, the engineer has to be standing on that turntable to use it. This has a wireless remote. So, once they’re on scene and ready to go, he can walk around and look at that ladder placement from a bunch of different angles for more efficiency and more accuracy,” McFarland said.

The trucks are also equipped with idle reduction technology, which significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions while they’re parked on scene.

“We often have to keep the engines running when we’re on scene to support emergency equipment and things like this. On this one, the primary drive system, after three minutes of idle, shuts down and goes to a secondary generator that will power all that stuff,” McFarland said. “Here in the valley, where we’re concerned about the inversion, things of that nature, we can still support our need to have this on, but not be polluting nearly as much as our normal apparatus have in the past.”

UFA is already using three of the trucks for emergency calls. They’re using a fourth truck (pictured above) for training purposes before they put it into service, and a fifth truck has been ordered.