Canada — Last year might have been quiet on the fire front, but Chief CoryFurlong sees a couple of hot-ticket purchases down the road.
Furlong recently told council it must eventually replace the department’spumper and tanker trucks, each more than 20 years old. The pricetag on the 1986pumper was $132,000 when it was purchased. Today, the estimated cost of a newvehicle is closer to $250,000. “I didn’t want them to have any surprises,”Furlong said in an interview following the meeting.
The 1982 tanker, a former municipal roads chassis, was refurbished with a newtank and compartments in 1996. The overhaul cost is not known. A brand new unitwould cost as much as $150,000.
Last year, the fire department was called out eight times:
two structural fires;
two chimney fires;
one mutual aid call;
one call to the St. Joseph Township municipal landfill site;
one brush fire and one cancellation.
The department receives an average of 20 calls per year.
As of Jan. 14, the department received seven calls since Dec. 1, six inJanuary alone.
Furlong told council 14 firefighters completed ice rescuetraining. There were no major equipment breakdowns, the pumper truck’s pumperwas tested for the first time in four years and passed. However, the transfercase was found to be leaking.
New equipment purchased included eight pagers and 4,265 metres of municipaland forestry hose, nozzle and fittings.
Through fundraising by the firefighters association, 17 pairs of autoextraction gloves and a TAC stick, which measures the presence of electricalcurrents, was purchased.
“In 2007, I feel we had an extremely quiet year considering the drysummer we encountered,” Furlong said. The department has a respectableamount of equipment to cope with grass and brush fires, the chief said, butadded the department should expand its equipment in light of dry summers.
“In doing so, (it will) reduce the workload we place on our volunteersand the chance of having to call in the Ministry of Natural Resources,”Furlong added.
Although the department has adequate pump capacity, Furlong recommendsadditional forestry hose fittings and nozzles and will look into techniques usedby other departments for fighting brush and grass fires.
“Maybe there is a little trick that someone else knows that we don’tthat will help us fight fires,” he said following the meeting.
Furlong said purchasing a ground-based water monitor could assist indelivering ample water to fight a fire at a large a building, such as one withinthe business core of Richards Landing,
One unit can deliver a maximum of 1,892 litres per minute and can be leftunattended. At this rate, the monitor can also drain a tanker in one minute.
Presently, the department’s largest nozzle can discharge 946 litres perminute and requires a minimum of two firefighters to operate.
“This piece of equipment would greatly increase our chance of a quickknockdown of a fire, reducing fatigue and chance of injury of our members,”Furlong said.
“The monitor does not put out the fire, but you can get ahead of it,knock it down then go in and clean up the rest with smaller lines.”