New addition at Lillooet Fire Hall

Special ordered for local conditions

Members of the Lillooet Fire Department got a chance try out the latest piece of equipment in their firefighting arsenal Tuesday, as they received training on the new triple combination fire truck at Cayoosh Creek Campground.

“It looks like our regular engine but it’s actually not. It’s a compressed air foam plus our regular pumper capacity,” Lillooet Fire Chief Darren Oike said of the custom-ordered machine.

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“The compressed air foam will actually expand up water, so that’s why we’ve gotten it because our East Lillooet water supplies are so low.”

The compressed air foam massively increases the volume and effectiveness of retardant as compared to just water, sometimes enough to make the difference between saving a home or not when water is in short supply.

“We’ve had house fires on the east side where there’s just not enough water and we’ve had to shuttle,” Oike said.

 “It’s got some different properties with the foam, it’s like shaving cream, so it’ll actually do a smothering as opposed to a cooling like regular water.”

Joe Sward of Hub Fire Engines, in Abbotsford, which build the new truck, was on hand to instruct local firefighters in operating the new rig.

“It’s 10 times the cooling ability and on dry foam you have up to 20 times expansion. On a wet foam you have ten times the expansion, you have 10 times the cooling ability of straight water,” said Sward, who was also involved in manufacturing the custom-designed piece of equipment.

As Oike mentioned, the new a truck is also a pumper, able to haul its own water with the same 1000-gallon capacity as the department’s existing pumper truck and with the added ability to rapidly (one-and-a-half minutes) drop that entire volume of water into collapsible holding tanks and go back for more. The older equipment has to be pumped out, when shuttling water, which is time consuming. The new truck drops it, using gravity, through a massive outflow valve.

Oike said another advantage of the compressed air foam system is there is the ease with which the retardant passes through the hoses.

 “We could lay out a mile of hose hear and get the same amount of foam at the other end there’s no friction loss,” he said.

“Whereas if we were doing it with just straight water, we start getting friction as we go along and the pump is having to pump even harder.”

The retardant is also much lighter than straight water, with obvious benefits for efficiency.

“Being that we’re a smaller department with minimum manpower sometimes we only have five guys on a truck, now each guy can have a line.”

The new, triple-combination (ladder, pumper and hose) truck was ordered a year ago with the rapid-release water valve as a special order, and came with a price tag of about $517,000, Oike said.Members of the Lillooet Fire Department got a chance try out the latest piece of equipment in their firefighting arsenal Tuesday, as they received training on the new triple combination fire truck at Cayoosh Creek Campground.

“It looks like our regular engine but it’s actually not. It’s a compressed air foam plus our regular pumper capacity,” Lillooet Fire Chief Darren Oike said of the custom-ordered machine.

“The compressed air foam will actually expand up water, so that’s why we’ve gotten it because our East Lillooet water supplies are so low.”

The compressed air foam massively increases the volume and effectiveness of retardant as compared to just water, sometimes enough to make the difference between saving a home or not when water is in short supply.

“We’ve had house fires on the east side where there’s just not enough water and we’ve had to shuttle,” Oike said.

 “It’s got some different properties with the foam, it’s like shaving cream, so it’ll actually do a smothering as opposed to a cooling like regular water.”

Joe Sward of Hub Fire Engines, in Abbotsford, which build the new truck, was on hand to instruct local firefighters in operating the new rig.

“It’s 10 times the cooling ability and on dry foam you have up to 20 times expansion. On a wet foam you have ten times the expansion, you have 10 times the cooling ability of straight water,” said Sward, who was also involved in manufacturing the custom-designed piece of equipment.

As Oike mentioned, the new a truck is also a pumper, able to haul its own water with the same 1000-gallon capacity as the department’s existing pumper truck and with the added ability to rapidly (one-and-a-half minutes) drop that entire volume of water into collapsible holding tanks and go back for more. The older equipment has to be pumped out, when shuttling water, which is time consuming. The new truck drops it, using gravity, through a massive outflow valve.

Oike said another advantage of the compressed air foam system is there is the ease with which the retardant passes through the hoses.

 “We could lay out a mile of hose hear and get the same amount of foam at the other end there’s no friction loss,” he said.

“Whereas if we were doing it with just straight water, we start getting friction as we go along and the pump is having to pump even harder.”

The retardant is also much lighter than straight water, with obvious benefits for efficiency.

“Being that we’re a smaller department with minimum manpower sometimes we only have five guys on a truck, now each guy can have a line.”

The new, triple-combination (ladder, pumper and hose) truck was ordered a year ago with the rapid-release water valve as a special order, and came with a price tag of about $517,000, Oike said.

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