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DFD takes delivery of new rescue unit

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The Dauphin Fire Department (DFD) received an early Christmas present, as Rescue 15 was delivered, Dec. 15.
“And it was even delivered by a guy with a big white beard. The delivery driver, Ernie, came in and I made the joke that we’ve got to get a picture of him wearing a Santa hat in front of this truck for the newspaper,” DFD Chief Cam Abrey laughed.
“But then we had a fire call, so we had to leave.”
As it turns out, he said, since its arrival, Rescue 15 has been on eight calls in seven days.
Abrey explained the 18,000-kg vehicle is not a fire or pumper truck and does not have ladders, hoses, or anything else that is typically thought of with a fire truck.
Rescue 15 is unique, he noted, as there are features on it Fort Garry had not added to a rescue truck before.
When DFD put the request for proposal out in 2018, Abrey explained, it included fire suppression capabilities.
“So although it doesn’t have your typical structure fire capabilities, we are able to use this unit for vehicle fires, dumpster fires, small grass fires, et cetera,” he said, adding it is a foam suppression system typically used in the oilfield industry.
DFD had tested a foam suppression system in 2017 that had much smaller capabilities, Abrey noted, and wanted to put one on Rescue 15.
Many other communities use a wet rescue, he explained, with a water tank and pump on it, similar to a fire engine.
Focussing on DFD’s long-term operating costs, Abrey said, a fire pump on a truck must be tested annually, while a foam system does not.
“Because there is no pump to it, it’s just pressurized by air cylinders. So it’s a water and foam premium tank that has two air cylinders that pressurize the tank and push the foam out through a one inch line.”
Additionally, if DFD found the system does not meet the needs of the department, Abrey added, it is a prefab unit which can be removed and attached to another piece of apparatus, or sold.
Another distinctive feature, he said, was the use of a staircase, rather than a ladder to access storage on the roof.
“It was the very first attempt that Fort Gary Fire Trucks made, putting a staircase in. Some of the other apparatus manufacturers, they’ve been doing it for a couple of years. Fort Garry agreed and decided that we would be their prototype,” Abrey said, explaining the staircase allows firefighters safer access to the roof, as they are able to maintain a minimum of three points of contact when they are climbing up and down.
The bonus is, he added, DFD now has over 50 cubic feet of storage space, Rescue 8 did not have.
As a result, Abrey said, DFD now keeps all of its rope rescue, water rescue and hazardous materials response equipment, plus extra wood for cribbing and blocking at heavy equipment rescues in Rescue 15.
“We can carry all this equipment on this truck now, where we couldn’t do that with our old truck. We had an enclosed trailer that we actually carried everything and it was over-capacity,” Abrey added.
“So now we’re able to take some of that equipment and put it onto this rescue, which allows us to make a much faster and organized response to an incident, because everything is located on one piece of equipment.”
In recent years, he said, members have had to use their personal vehicles to haul equipment stored in the fire station, as there was not enough room on Rescue 8 and Rescue 15 has a receiver on the back to haul DFD’s water rescue boat, the enclosed trailer, or the gator trailer.
Rescue 15 replaces DFD’s 1998 rescue truck, Abrey noted, which had seen much use over the years. As it still had some residual value left to it, he said, DFD thought it would be the right time to look at a replacement and still be able to sell off the old unit, which is now in Balgonie, Sask.
“So it was a part of this deal with Fort Garry Fire Trucks, the manufacturer of this unit, they offered us $75,000 in trade in value on it. And when we looked at their competitors, everybody that had submitted proposals on this rescue, the next nearest bid was $25,000, so it was an easy decision to make,” Abrey said.
As a rural fire department, he noted, the incidents firefighters attend to can vary greatly.
“And that’s the direction that we’re trying to take the department now. Every firetruck or fire apparatus that’s purchased since 2011, when I became the chief, everything now is built for both the City of Dauphin, the RM of Dauphin and the mutual aid response,” Abrey said.
“So every truck that we purchase from here on out, we’re looking at maximizing our response capability, that it’s able to go to all the different areas.”
Abrey invited anyone interested in seeing Rescue 15, to visit the fire station on a Wednesday night during a practice, or any other time a member is at the station.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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