The Estevan Fire Rescue Service has unveilled the latest addition to its fleet of equipment, and they believe it will prove to be an important addition.
A 2017 tracked Kubota Wildland Firefighting Unit was unveilled on Tuesday evening at the fire hall. Capt. Kyle Luc, who is also the president of the Estevan Firefighters’ Association, said the purchase was made possible through 24 months of hard work, fundraising and generosity of the community.
Representatives of Affinity Credit Union, the Estevan Kinsmen Club, Signal Direct and Dynamic Signs were on hand for the celebration. Affinity presented the fire department with a cheque for $10,000 from its South East District Council fund. The Kinsmen, Signal Direct and Dynamic Signs had previously announced their support.
The Estevan Firefighters’ Association held a 50-50 draw last year to raise funds for the apparatus.
The unit and the equipment cost approximately $50,000, but Luc said they still have some fundraising remaining to purchase other tools and additional equipment.
“The money that we have now has the unit; it’s ready to fight fires with some of the equipment that we already have from here that we can put on it,” said Luc.
The apparatus has a full emergency lighting package, a full pump with a 75-gallon water tank and a Stokes’ rescue basket, among other amenities.
“We’ve put some of our own hand tools that we’ve purchased through the association,” said Luc.
The unit will allow the fire department to reach areas that they couldn’t get to before with the large firefighting trucks.
“You get these trucks that have 800 gallons of water on them, and you take them into fields,” said Luc. “Sometimes it’s wet, and it doesn’t take long and you’re stuck.”
The unit would have been particularly helpful last summer and earlier this year, when the fire department combatted a lot of grass fires. During each of those fires, they wish they had device like this one.
“Sometimes you get your smaller ones, just in the ditch off the highway, but in the last couple of years, we have had some big fires that we’ve been out for hours and hours and hours,” said Luc. “We do have one unit right now, but it’s getting a little bit tired, it’s not a tracked unit like this one, so it does make things a little bit nicer to know that we have this tool in the toolbox now.”
In the region west of the city, it’s rocky and the terrain can be difficult. That’s one of the situation where this machine will help.
Not only will it assist with wild land firefighting efforts, they can perform rescues in any conditions, including the winter.
“With the tracks on it, if we have to go out and assist the city police or the RCMP or emergency medical services, in the winter time, we can go out,” said Luc. “We have the Stokes basket carrier that we can use on the back, and we can help do rescues or whatever they need from us.”