The Putnam Examiner

Ladder Showcase Brings Local Fire Departments Together

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For the first time in its history, the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department hosted a ladder showcase featuring different mutual aid ladder companies from Putnam and the surrounding area.

Mahopac assistant chief Jason Kinash, who put the showcase together, said the Thursday night event at the Mahopac department’s headquarters allowed different departments to have a firm grasp of the mutual aid capabilities other departments possess. While each truck and ladder have the same overall function, each truck has different features, Kinash said. More than 100 fire department volunteers in the region from 12 fire companies attended. Each truck was explained to volunteers in the chilly weather with every ladder eventually extending into the sky

The idea for the showcase started when a couple of younger Mahopac members wanted to drive to see the new ladder truck the Brewster Fire Department recently bought, Kinash, and then they wanted to go the Somers department to look at a truck. Kinash decided it was better if every interested department came together for a showcase.

“Everybody just learning about the different stuff in their county,” Kinash said.

Being familiar with a different department’s equipment is important, Kinash noted, especially since mutual aid is used often. During the day when many volunteers are at their day job, departments in the region give and receive mutual aid when fires strike. Also, with the new materials used to construct buildings, fires burn hotter and faster so departments need as much water as possible from different departments to get blazes under control, he said.

“You might have to get something or work with another fire department so knowing the works and where their tools are and how everything works on everybody else’s truck always helps you out,” Kinash said.

Mahopac Chief William Nikisher said it’s critical to know what other departments can provide.

“We help each other out,” Nikisher said. “We help them out, they help us out.”

Brewster assistant chief Michael Bizzaro said this is the first ladder showcase his department has participated in. For a few years, the Brewster department didn’t have one, but recently bought a new aerial ladder truck, he noted.

The Brewster department bought its ladder truck because of its straight stick feature, which makes it more versatile and easier to handle residential fires, Bizzaro explained.

Bizzaro said it’s important to know what other fire companies in the area have because a lot of trucks have different options and equipment.

“It’s just nice to see what everybody else has and broadens our horizon so we know who to call,” Bizzaro said.

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