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New Hillsburgh fire pumper authorized by towns councillors

by Mike Robinson

ERIN - Councillors here may have bought a new toy for their fire department, but it won’t be here for Christmas.

Actually, a new fire pumper truck is hardly a toy; it comes with a hefty price tag of over $450,000 (including HST).

But that pumper will bring state of the art fire fighting equipment to the Hillsburgh Fire station.

At the Dec. 6 Erin council meeting, Fire Chief Dan Callaghan outlined the recommendation to replace the 1984 pumper in Hillsburgh. He said the truck committee considered a number of options and manufacturers.

A budget of $400,000 was set between 2011 and 2012 for the purchase, he said.

One of the manufacturers investigated by the truck committee was Dependable Tank and Truck of Brampton Callghan said. After a complete examination of the Spartan Metrostar pumpers specifications and an on site visit to the Brampton Fire Department and talking to those using the truck, the committee decided to check prices.

He then explained that Brampton used a tendering process to purchase that particular truck and three similar ones. The only difference was in the way some of the compartments were configured.

The committee checked into getting the same pricing with a few modifications to suit a more rural style of fire fighting.

“Dependable advised us that they would hold the price at this time, but that there is a 3% increase coming to all manufacturing costs after Dec. 20. Basically, if we can get our truck order in before that time,  for the same vehicle, they will hold the costs.”

Truck committee member Jay Jasper spoke about the chassis frame and motor of the proposed truck.

Jasper spoke on the truck specifications. “In my profession opinion, I believe the City of Brampton  has done its due diligence considering the safety of firefighters responding to emergency situations,” he said.

Jasper  said the truck has the latest technology in handling, braking and stability. The engine will also help the town be more environmentally responsible in controlling pollution.

“We believe that basically the air going into the engine is going to come out cleaner.”

Picking a Brampton firm also works to purchase locally and any issues or repairs could be completed with a faster turnaround. A big selling feature, Jasper said, is the advanced electronics and diagnostics that help monitor driving habits.

“Ultimately, I believe this truck to be the most suitable for the town of Erin,” he said.

Councillor John Brennan asked if the pumper has the same capacity as the current one.

Wayne Cunningham is a retired deputy fire chief in Mississauga. Part of his role was in the purchase of fire trucks for the city. He spoke about the layout, foam system and the advantages of the proposed truck.

He said that while the truck has the same water capacity, the truck utilizes a foam system that, in effect, increases the ability of the water to do its work.

Cunningham stated the truck is laid out with the firefighters in mind. It will be laid out so that for all the trucks in the Hillsburgh station, the equipment will be in the same or similar areas.

He pointed out other safety features that allow the firefighters to be able to operate certain equipment from the truck, rather being on the road.

In addition, the truck will have a deluge deck and water cannon that can be operated from the truck.

Cunningham added the layout means fewer trips up and down the truck, and less standing at the side of the road.

The foam system, he said, was developed in the past 10 years. “It increases the fire fighting capacity of the 500 gallons of water by 10- to 20-fold.”

He estimated a house fire that might take 1,500 gallons to fight, might be dealt with 300 gallons of Class A foam that would knock it down. He said using less water, means fewer claims due to water damage.

The other issue is that the vehicle will eventually be used as a pumper and rescue truck - after additional components are installed.

Cunningham said when there is sometimes a limited number of firefighters, multiple tasks can be done with one vehicle.

Councillor Josie Wintersinger asked for more information about the foam system and was told that foam makes the water wetter by reducing surface tension. While foam was originally used to fight chemical and petroleum fires, it is now used on wood.

He stressed foam is non-toxic. “Foams used now are a lot more environmentally friendly.”

Brennan asked if the use of foam would create any breaks on insurance for local homeowners.

He heard insurance ratings for the town are based on a number of factors including the number of fire fighting vehicles, response times, water supplies and truck capabilities.

Callaghan said the 1984 pumper did not meet insurance standards at the best of times and the pumping capability of the proposed truck is twice that of the old pumper. He anticipates it will improve the insurance rating, but stressed it would be based on a five-year study through the insurance company.

Mayor Lou Maieron posed “a simple but important question - will it fit in new fire hall?”

Callaghan said it will.

Maieron asked if there is consideration of a ladder truck in the future, based on growth in the municipality.

Callaghan doubted the town has the $1.5 million available right now for such a unit.

Councillor Barb Tocher suggested if anyone wanted to build that high in Erin “they could donate a fire truck.”

Maieron asked if the department was looking at purchasing based on the presentation, rather than going to tender.

Callaghan said Dependable Tank and Truck is willing to hold the cost at $401,630 plus HST, for a total of $453,842.

Callaghan  anticipated having the documentation to place the order before Dec. 20.

Council passed a resolution to authorize the purchase - including the modifications to make it more friendly for rural firefighters.

Callaghan pointed out delivery can take up to nine months.  “We’re not going to get it until at least September of next year. It’s not like we’re going to get it in a couple of months.”

 

December 16, 2011

 
 

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