You will notice a new fire truck responding to calls within Minden Hills township. The department just received their new initial attack fire apparatus.
The truck may be small but it packs some major fire suppression, especially with a 5,000 litre per minute pump, a 750 litre water tank, a 60 litre foam tank and a host of other customizable features in this quick attack footprint. The F550 Ford rapid attack unit was built by Pierce Manufacturing and purchased through Commercial Truck Equipment Company of Woodstock, Ontario.
More than two years ago, council had approved the purchase of a new fire apparatus and the retirement of the 1995 International. The vehicle took 16 months to build – this was prolonged due to the pandemic – but the truck was built with very few delays. The longest wait was for the chassis from Ford. The new F550 is a 2021 four-by-four crew cab, which was built and outfitted by Pierce Manufacturing. The town had allotted $470,000 in its 2019 budget towards the purchase of a pumper truck and the truck cost came in at $464,000.
We selected the mini-pumper style for several reasons – the smaller size allows us to manoeuvre on the smaller roads within the community. The next feature that will be handy is the four-wheel-drive capability – there are lots of steep hills, turns and areas that our large truck has difficulty maneuvering through. The smaller size and the four-by-four capability will allow our volunteer firefighters safer driving capabilities, especially when it snows or is icy.
The lighter weight will also allow us access to areas that the larger trucks cannot drive to. There are many times the crews pulled hose from the road, down the driveway and set up near the home, because the driveway turn is too small or the driveway is too congested with boats, vehicles, trees, rocks, and sheds. The smaller truck can fit in some of these areas and down the congested, tight or steep driveways.
The smaller truck does not carry all of the same amount of equipment as the bigger units, but it is outfitted with the required equipment and is ready for most calls. The unit is capable and ready to respond to structure fires, vehicle fires, wildland fires, grass fires, motor vehicle collisions, medical calls and rescues. The unit can draft from a water source such as a lake or river, and can relay water to the larger unit if needed.
If we need to fight a fire in a rural area that is not protected by fire hydrants, we can set up to supply water to the scene. The smaller truck can access water sources that the bigger trucks could not get to. This truck will then be able to pump water to the trucks at the scene.
All of our fire apparatus are capable of accomplishing multiple situations and incidents – they are all ready for fires, medical calls, rescues and motor vehicle collisions. We have a saying, “one is none, two is one, and three means that we have a back-up.”
The addition of this new unit provides us with three fire trucks that can respond. The smaller unit gives us diversity, which we did not have before.
– Submitted by Nelson Johnson, fire chief, Minden Hills Fire Department