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The City Journals

What’s new? Checking in with the Sandy Fire Department

Mar 28, 2019 02:06PM ● By Justin Adams

The Sandy Fire Department’s new 110-foot-long ladder truck shows off its impressive reach. (Courtesy of Sandy Fire Department)

By Justin Adams | [email protected]

If you see a sleek and shiny new 110-foot-long, $1.3 million vehicle rolling down the streets of Sandy, odds are it’s the Sandy Fire Department’s brand new ladder truck. 

The new truck is just one of many recent additions to the Sandy Fire Department that combine to help make the department one of the best in the valley, at least according to Chief Bruce Cline. 

The new ladder truck is an important addition to the department’s fleet because its previous ladder truck was nearing two decades of service. Especially considering the increasing number of high-rise buildings that dot Sandy’s skyline, having a more modern ladder truck is much more than a luxury. 

“Before our tallest building was the Jordan Commons building. It’s 10 stories tall. But now we’re hearing reports of anything from 13 to 20 stories. You have to start looking at whole different fire operations,” said Cline. 

The city will retain its old ladder truck as well so it can be available if the new truck is in the shop. “In a worst case fire-of-all-fires scenario, we could even use both trucks,” said Cline. 

Over the past few years the department has also replaced its fleet of ambulances with new four-door ambulances. The extra row of passenger seating means family members of the patient can ride along in the ambulance with them.

“It’s so important to keep a family intact if you have to take someone to the hospital,” said Cline.  “It’s nice to say, ‘Would you like to ride with us?’ Often they’re not in the right state of mind to be driving when their loved one is sick or injured.”

Newer ambulances also translate to smoother rides for the patients themselves. 

“It’s surprising how many people come to the hospital and they say, ‘Man that was a rough ride,’” said Cline. 

In the same vein, the department has also acquired new machinery that lifts stretchers into the back of the ambulance. Besides being more comfortable for the patient, it also helps cut down on injuries to firefighters and paramedics. 

“We used to get two to four people on both sides of the gurney to lift them into the ambulance. Now you just push a button and it lifts them. They’re expensive but they’re well worth the cost of a back injury,” said Cline. 

And perhaps most importantly, all this new equipment is being operated by firefighters who recently got a pay raise. Last year the Sandy city budget included a restructured compensation structure for both the police and fire departments.

“All the departments in the valley are struggling to hire high-quality people,” explained Cline. “Not a lot of people want to be firefighters, so what we’re finding is that the best firefighters are moving around the valley depending on who is offering the best pay.”

Now that the compensation for Sandy’s firefighters is more comparable to surrounding cities, Cline said it’s become much easier to retain the kinds of people that make the department what it is.

“Sandy is the best fire department to work at,” said Cline. “We have great people and a great community to work and serve in.”