Langford coun. Lillian Szpak is joined by Langford firefighter Brian Bell

New engine gets fitted in Langford

Upgrades with the new engine focus on firefighters’ safety while out on calls.

Langford Fire Rescue has a new pumper truck in their lineup and this latest addition to their fleet is all about safety.

Fire Chief Bob Beckett said the new truck features some special upgrades and extra features, “like airbags, which are not standard in fire trucks.”

In the U.S., vehicle crashes accounted for 12 per cent of firefighter deaths last year. While provincial legislation, such as the move over law, is geared at reducing those statistics in Canada, being injured or even killed in crash while responding to or returning from a call is always a concern for firefighters noted Beckett. He added “council continually has allowed us to get the very best technology and some great safety features.”

Coun. Lillian Szpak, chair of Langford’s protective services committee, said “safety is priority number one for our firefighters.”

She pointed to the truck that will soon be decommissioned, noting the open cabin design that exposes firefighters to all of the elements.

Firefighter Brian Bell, who played a key role in communicating with the manufacturer and customizing the vehicle to meet the department’s needs, noted the exposed cabin also makes communicating inside the truck harder.

Besides airbags and a closed-cabin design, the new engine features the latest technology for mobile data terminals.

Bell explained this technology a little further. “We’ve got dual screens in the front,” he said. “Safety wise it allows the driver to just drive,” and whomever is in the right seat can operate the controls.

The truck is also 100 per cent lit by LEDs, which negates the need for a generator to power external lights. That feature alone saved the department roughly $20,000. “That is a big change for us,” Bell noted. “The alternator on the truck can run all of the systems.”

From an operational standpoint, Beckett noted, the engine will be uniformly fitted with equipment and settings to match others in the department’s fleet.

“Everything is in the same place,” he said, adding that saves precious time and is one less thing for firefighters to think about.

That way, added Bell, “it doesn’t matter what truck you arrive on.”

Since the engine also needs to look the same as others in the fleet, a lot of preplanning was done for the customization work, and Bell hopes to have the truck in service by the end of the month.

Bell was part of the team that went down to South Dakota to pick up the engine at the end of September.

“It’s exciting, you go to the factory and do the inspection on it,” he said. “It’s a good feeling … I’m looking forward to getting it on the road.”

Another new feature on this engine is that every valve on the exterior panel is electronic, as opposed to the old push-pull valves. “It can be really hard to pull those valves,” Bell noted but the new system is all done by the push of a button.

“You can do it all from here … Everything is available to them from the panel.” Firefighters don’t just have control of water flow from that panel, all of the external lighting can also be operated from there, where in older models firefighters would have to jump back into the truck to fire up the generator.

Beckett added, “it’s all safety related.”

The engine can also pump 1,250 gallons of water per minute.

The arrival of the new truck means two vehicles are leaving Station 1 on Peatt Road. Engine 1 will be moved from there to Station 3 on Sooke Lake Road, while a 1990-built truck that is no longer insurable will be decommissioned. A 2004 engine will come from Station 3 to Station 1 as a replacement.

“We enhance the longevity of the vehicles,” explains Beckett of the complex juggling act. By moving vehicles with more hours to stations where they will see less use or wear and tear helps the department get the full 20-year life expectancy out of them.

Szpak added, “it’s a really good efficient use of our equipment.” And when a machine costs roughly $650,000 they want to make sure they last as long as possible and they get the maximum use out of their investment, she said.

As for what will happen to the 1990 truck, that has yet to be decided. That decision will be left to council, and Szpak said in the past they have donated equipment to other departments in need, with engines going to Belize, Mexico and Thetis Island. “It does reflect the values of our community.”

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Victoria Humane Society needs volunteers after flood of puppies and kittens

Pregnant cats, dogs and their litters are in need of foster care

Tomato planting controversy inspires Victoria author’s book on transforming cities

Woman behind the Collinson street mural pens third book

Stem cell donor with rare genetic makeup needed to save Saanich man after cancer returns

Jeremy Chow is half Canton Chinese, half British and needs a donor with a similar ethnic background

Grassfire threatens Sooke home

Quick action by local firefighters quickly extinguished flames

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Most Read