Waukegan Fire Department dedicates new ARFF truck

The Waukegan Fire Department, Waukegan National Airport, Waukegan Port District, and Waukegan Airport tenants have announced the dedication ceremony of a new Rosenbauer Panther Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Truck.

Fire Chief George Bridges and members of the Waukegan Fire Department and Waukegan Port District worked together for over a year to plan, design, and agreed upon this specialized firefighting truck's specifications.

The ARFF truck, purchased by the Waukegan National Airport and tenants, was built to meet the specific needs of the Waukegan National Airport.

"I am grateful for the support of the Waukegan Port District Board and the airport tenants who purchased the ARFF for the airport and the city of Waukegan," Waukegan Port District Chairman Grant Farrell said.

"This rescue truck dramatically improves the Waukegan Fire Department's ability to respond to the specialized needs of fire protection at the airport. We are very pleased that the benefit extends to the residents of the city of Waukegan, and the county, when this equipment is needed."

The ARFF truck is an integral part of aircraft rescue and firefighting. The speed of aircraft emergency response equipment and personnel arriving at the emergency scene is of paramount importance.

The ability to respond quickly to secure the aircraft against all hazards, particularly fire, increase passengers' and crews' survivability. The ARFF truck is a fast, all-terrain vehicle loaded with fire suppression chemicals and foam that can reach the accident scene, on or off the airport, in rugged, wooded, or swampy terrain.

"Our Waukegan firefighters now have a state-of-the-art apparatus to meet the needs of the airport, tenants, community, and all that visit our great city; while pairing equipment to the skilled professionals of our amazing Waukegan Fire Department," Fire Chief George Bridges said.

The Waukegan Fire Department has completed extensive training in the operation of the Rosenbauer Panther ARFF Truck. All of the firefighters who will operate this vehicle are certified in aircraft rescue and firefighting and trained by the Rosenbauer company representatives.

The ARFF Truck stands over 12 feet tall, 10 feet wide, and almost 40 feet long and is equipped with a 3,100-gallon water tank, 420 gallons of firefighting foam, and 500 pounds of dry chemical extinguishing agent.

The water and extinguishing agents can be delivered while the truck is in motion from two turrets mounted on the bumper and roof. The two turrets combined can pump more than 1,700 gallons per minute to extinguish fires quickly.

The total weight of the apparatus is almost 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. The ARFF is capable of six-wheel drive, with a top speed of 85 miles per hour. There are several compartments around the truck for various hand tools needed at the scene and hose lines deployed when required.

"We are very grateful for the support from the Waukegan Port District and our airport tenants in replacing the over 30-year-old ARFF truck with this modern truck," Mayor Sam Cunningham said. "These types of collaborations and supporting of each other shows all of those around us what progress and partnerships should look like."

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