A new $715,000 fire truck is part of the fleet at Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Fire Rescue - after 18 years of service, the old vehicle broke down last year and couldn’t be repaired. (Guy Bertrand photo)

New work horse at RDKB fire rescue

After 18 years, a new fire truck has been added to the RDKB fire rescue fleet

There’s a new work horse at the regional fire department, but this one gleams red and runs on fuel.

A new $715,000 fire truck is part of the fleet at Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Fire Rescue – after 18 years of service, the old vehicle broke down last year and couldn’t be repaired.

Fire Chief Dan Derby says the old truck was sold for scrap value due to the mechanical condition and limited value given the nature of the equipment and its use.

“To maintain our Fire Underwriters Survey Insurance grading rating, all our apparatus is on a replacement schedule that requires fire engines to be replaced every 20 years,” Derby told the Trail Times.

So how does one go about ordering such a big and vital piece of equipment?

Derby says back in the fall of 2015, the RDKB started working on the truck’s design with vendors.

“Over six months a request for proposals was developed that included a list of mandatory equipment,” he explained. “An RFP (Request for Proposal) process is preferred as it allows fire truck manufacturers to respond with bids that highlight their apparatus and equipment that meets our required needs.”

Specifics needs are outlined by the Fire Underwriters, and foremost, fire trucks must have a certain pump and water carrying capacity for communities the department protects.

“We started with the old truck design, pump and tank capacity,” Derby said. “Then Captain Gallamore and myself worked with the crew to identify what we required to improve the truck and meet the needs of our firefighters and the community.”

The new fire truck was purchased from HUB Fire Engines in Abbotsford.

“They purchase the cab, chassis (frame, engine and transmission) and pump from Spartan out of the states,” Derby noted. “The plant in Abbotsford builds the plumbing, electrical systems and body of the trucks.”

Once the new vehicle was ready, it was driven to Trail by a HUB employee who trained RDKB firefighters on the new truck and equipment.

“This truck is the work horse of the fleet,” Derby said. “It has a larger pump, 1500 gallons per minute, to be able to respond to larger commercial and industrial-type calls, in addition to residential fires,” he added.

“The larger pump is also used to supply the ladder truck when the elevated waterway is used at fires.”

LED lighting and a light tower better illuminates the scene, which improves safety when the crews work at night.

Additionally, the First Responder medical equipment is housed in the cab to ensure it is not contaminated by toxins from cross contamination of firefighting equipment.

“The truck has a rescue-style body allowing all equipment to be stored internally,” explained Derby. “This helps with the care and maintenance of equipment.”

Other improvements include hose loads, which are built into trays on the truck for easy deployment and reloading at an ergonomic height, and tools are all mounted for ease of storage and access to equipment.

“Improvements in the Emergency Lights and Siren package ensure we are able to respond safely to calls,” Derby said.

“When we have our fire truck built, it’s a careful balance of meeting the needs of the fire department, knowing the truck needs to last for 20 years, and trying to include new equipment while respecting the public purse,” he emphasized.

“As a fire service we are extremely thankful for the support of the community and our elected officials providing us with the tools we need to do our job.”

See photos on Page 2

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