The Houston Volunteer Fire Department’s new rescue truck is already in service with the department members getting used to the state-of-the art vehicle assembled by Hub Fire Engines in Abbotsford.
Ordered in late 2019 and expected last summer, COVID and other factors delayed its arrival until this month.
“We have moved the tooling over to the new truck. Already it can respond to calls. We just don’t have everything mounted,” said fire chief Jim Daigneault who is also the District of Houston’s protective services director.
Equipment specifications listed by the department included LED lights to better illuminate the surroundings at an accident or other emergency scene, having a Hurst E rescue system commonly called the Laws of Life and a compressed air foam dispersal system.
The vehicle can also carry five firefighters as well as 2,500 pounds of equipment and have a top speed approaching 70 miles an hour.
One feature the new truck has which the old one did not comes in the form of a windlass winch which is more versatile than the cable winch that was on the front of the old truck.
“The new winch can be moved and mounted on each side of the truck to make it versatile for different incidents,” said Daigneault.
This purchase of a new rescue truck follows the District policy of replacing assets of all kinds which have come to the end of their useful life.
“The last new vehicle was purchased approximately five years ago which was an engine/pumper,” said Daigneault.
“The trucks for Houston are usually kept for about 20 years. We have a vehicle purchase plan that sees a new vehicle purchased every five years which keeps the fleet current,” he said.
The old truck will be traded in back to the dealer.
Houston’s new rescue truck comes at a time the volunteer fire department is looking to increase the number of its volunteer members and Daigneault says it might help attract recruits.
As well, a just-released study indicates the current firehall has seen better days and despite best efforts, a larger hall is needed with more room for equipment storage and training.
The old rescue truck is being traded in at a value of $19,500 which reduces the $373,602 purchase price of the new vehicle to $354,102.