The Sicamous Fire Department got a new truck and put it to good use on a structure fire – all in one week.
The new truck was delivered by its manufacturer, Winnipeg- based Fort Garry Fire Trucks, last weekend. Sicamous Fire Chief Brett Ogino said it was important for the Sicamous department to select a Canadian manufacturer who builds their trucks to operate in Canadian winters.
Representatives from the manufacturer provided training on the new truck which boasts a Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS).
Ogino said the CAFS, which uses compressed air to spray a mixture of water and fire retardant foam onto a blaze, knocks fires down faster than water alone can.
“That CAFS system allows much lighter lines for the crew to handle and just makes it safer for them to do fire attacks with the quicker knockdown.”
The truck is also able to run water hoses just as the other truck in the department’s fleet can but Ogino said they would be running foam almost exclusively. He added that the CAFS system uses approximately one- fifth of the water that it would take a hose pumping water alone to extinguish a fire.
Ogino said his firefighters found the lines much easier to maneuver in training.
Along with the new fire suppression option, the new truck sits on a 4×4 chassis, which Ogino says will make negotiating rough terrain and reaching the site of fires in the winter easier.
The new vehicle got its trial by fire on Thursday, Oct. 24 when an abandoned structure in a field at the end of Boutwell Avenue ignited.
According to Ogino, the lighter lines came in handy when the firefighters had to move them amongst the overgrown trees near the burning structure to get in position and put the fire out.
Ogino said the old truck, which the new one will replace, has been in service since 1984. The District of Sicamous budgeted for a replacement knowing the truck was aging.
There have already been some offers to purchase the old truck, but Ogino said they will keep it in the fleet for the time being to serve as a backup in the event a truck is sent to help with wildfire fighting efforts as one has been the last two summers.