Fire fighting truck enhances response

new firetruck, CFB Esquimalt Fire Department

CFB Esquimalt received the first of three new firetrucks designed and engineered to last the next 25 years.

CFB Esquimalt Fire Department recently received a custom-built 2012 Class A Pump Fire Truck, one of three trucks being purchased over the next two years to replace CFB Esquimalt’s aging fleet of fire fighting apparatus.

The truck was designed specifically for CFB Esquimalt firefighters, with the unique situations found in fighting fires on a naval base in mind.

The truck sports a smaller water tank and a side-mounted control panel that makes the vehicle lighter and shorter over all, and allows it to travel across jetties safely. Increased hose storage and a pumping volume of 2,000 gallons a minute enhances the mobility and power needed to respond to fires aboard ships and the large buildings found within CFB Esquimalt.

Safety was also a focus in the design. The cab of the truck can withstand a roll over, protecting the controls as well as fire fighters. There are also systems in place that ensure seatbelts are fastened and doors closed.

Tom Mehmel of Fort Garry Fire Trucks says the design specifications are intended to make the jobs of CFB Esquimalt’s Fire Department easier and most importantly safer.

“The most important thing is protecting the fire fighters,” says Mehmel. “This isn’t a backyard creation. The safety systems that are in place are there to protect the lives of the fire fighters and the general public on the way to a call.”

Rick LeQuesne, Deputy Fire Chief at the CFB Esquimalt Fire Department, reviewed the truck design, and offered suggestions based on what CFB Esquimalt’s fire fighters need to do their jobs. He says one of the main strengths of the vehicle is its versatility and adaptability.

“The vehicle has a large pumping capacity that allows it to supply water for fire fighting from an above-ground water main fed by the Firebrand, which would draw water from the harbor in the event that a natural disaster disables municipal water systems,” explains LeQuesne. “Fire apparatus has evolved significantly over my career and the fire apparatus our fire fighters respond to calls on today really bears no resemblance to the fire apparatus I started responding to calls on as a volunteer firefighter 36 years ago. We now have foam injection systems, computer aided pump control panels, remote control scene lighting, and safe and secure seating for the firefighters responding to calls, a far cry from the days of standing on the tailgate while responding to calls. These new fire apparatus are a source of pride for the firefighters and the community we serve – CFB Esquimalt.”

Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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