The Estevan Fire Rescue Service has a fleet of equipment so firefighters can do their jobs safely if they encounter a fire or another emergency situation.
The fire department currently has a 2008 Rosenbauer Spartan fire engine that serves as their primary fire truck, a 2012 Rosenbauer Spartan aerial T-Rex truck that is their secondary truck and also their ladder truck, and two other fire trucks, one of which is used as a water tanker and the other is used for traffic collisions and other rescue situations.
Also included are a couple of trucks used for wildland firefighting, a water rescue boat, a wildland all-terrain vehicle, a hazardous materials response trailer and a mobile command post trailer.
“That equipment is designed for specific jobs, so it’s hard to maintain the training skill sets to go along with that particular equipment, so there’s a lot of dedication on behalf of the firefighters to maintain the skill sets to provide a rescue, or a response for that matter,” said Fire Chief Dale Feser.
The water truck, for example, plays a vital role when responding to calls in the rural municipalities, because the fire department won’t have access to fire hydrants. It delivers water to the scene for fire suppression, and is followed up by some of the water trucks as well.
The rescue truck, meanwhile, is used for such situations as motor vehicle collisions and vehicle fires.
The equipment reflects the situations the fire department could find itself in.
“You’re not going to see every fire department with a Zodiac rescue boat. One thing that we do have is a lot of open water all year round, and we do have two large bodies of water with both Boundary and Rafferty Dams being frequented quite often by a lot of fishermen from across North America, for that matter,” said Feser.
The fire department has to be ready to provide a response should it find itself responding to a capsized boat, or individuals getting into trouble in the water or on the beaches.
“When all of these new hires are going through their professional certification, they touch a little bit on these particular areas, and how to handle them, and even at that particular time they’re restricted to shoreline support operations until they take the specialized training to allow them into going into a more pro-active and operational skill set, as opposed to a supportive skill set.”
The fire department has three command vehicles. They decided to keep the third vehicle because it has the space to bring manpower and resources when responding to grass fires. It’s also used for travel when the firefighters attend training sessions like the upcoming provincial fall training school in Swift Current.
The equipment fleet is in pretty good shape, Feser said. The fire department is trying to develop a manageable fleet replacement program with the city.
“Usually for a city of our size, any fire department apparatus for suppression activities has an average lifespan of 20 years before it needs to be replaced, and then we can use it for an additional two to five years for secondary service,” Feser said.
All equipment goes through annual inspection testing and maintenance, so they do tests every year to ensure the pump is operating to its designed capabilities to provide adequate water for safe firefighting.