DMACC president Rob Denson with donated fire truck. (DMACC photo)

Students in the Des Moines Area Community College Fire Science program will be able to get hands-on training on a ladder truck following a donation from the city of Pleasant Hill.

Brent Conklin is the chair of the DMACC Fire Science program and says the truck is important in the training process.
“It’s huge. It allows our students now effectively start working in multi-company operations, which happens on every fire ground. It allows us to have another apparatus with pumping capability, and allows our program to grow,” Conklin says.

Conklin says the donation came after he talked with the Pleasant Hill Fire Chief Jamie Xayavong and her assistant chief — who both graduated from DMACC. “When I found out that they were purchasing a new ladder truck for their city, I asked them if there’s any possibility of working and getting a partnership with DMACC and the city of maybe possibly donating the ladder truck to our program,” he says.

The chief took it to the city council and city government and they agreed to the donation. The truck is assessed at $100,000. Conklin says with the shortage of firefighters across Iowa — the city could see how important good training is. “They understand that our program does allow them to get more quality candidates to hire for the city of Pleasant Hill. And so, you know, the city looked at it as kind of a win-win, of being able to go and help out a college and an educational institution, but also allow them to try to find some in-demand applicants to meet the need as well,” according to Conklin.

Trainees often have to wait to work on such a truck until they join a department. “This apparatus is is serviced in and inspected and we are able to use these apparatuses during the live fire training portion of our of our fire academy,” Conklin says. The Pleasant Hill ladder truck joins an ambulance and pumper truck that DMACC purchased a few years ago to use in training in the program.