Perth East Fire Department unveils two new tanker trucks for Milverton and Sebringville stations
Perth East Fire Department unveils two new tanker trucks for Milverton and Sebringville stations

Members of the Perth East Fire Department, members of Perth East council, and representatives fom Woodstock-based truck dealer ResQTech celebrated the delivery of two new tanker trucks at the Milverton Fire Station Friday afternoon. Galen Simmons/the Beacon Herald/Postmedia Network

Thanks to an investment of more than $1.2 million by Perth East council, the Perth East Fire Department is now better equipped to respond to emergency calls following the delivery of two new tanker trucks Friday afternoon.

This year, the tanker trucks housed at the Milverton and Sebringville stations reached the end of their lifespans – one truck had been in service for nearly 25 years while the other was 23 years old.

“Twenty-five years is what you should be getting out of them,” Perth East fire Chief Bill Hunter said. “That’s why they’re designed and built the way they are because they’re supposed to last for 25 years, not like a pickup truck that maybe you change out every 10 years.”

But while tanker trucks are designed to last a quarter-century, Hunter said they require an increasingly larger portion of the fire department’s vehicle-maintenance budget as they get older.

“When trucks are getting close to that 25 years, you need to have a plan in place to get them replaced. It does take … a year to get them built (and) we were probably almost a year in the planning before the tender was awarded,” Hunter said. “You don’t just call up a local fire truck supplier and order one off the shelf.”

In comparison to the trucks being cycled out, the new tankers, supplied by ResQTech in Woodstock and manufactured by Rosenbauer America in South Dakota, are safer, carry more water, have bigger pumps, and can carry more firefighters, with seating in the cab and chassis for up to six. In addition, the tankers can also take the place of a front-line fire engine if one of those trucks happens to be out of service for maintenance during a call.

“One of our issues is when one of our front-line engines has to go in for, say, a safety check or it’s taken out of service for whatever reason, we don’t have a backup truck that can step into that role,” Hunter said. “These two new trucks were designed (to be) … more than capable to step in to the do the work as far as pump capacity, the amount of hose that they carry, and obviously the number of firefighters that they carry.”

So instead of having to call a front-line fire engine from a neighbouring fire department, Hunter said the new tankers can step in and Perth East fire crews can more quickly respond to a call.

“Having that capacity right in our own stations keeps our response times right where they should be and provides a seamless level of service to our residents,” Hunter said.

The trucks will join the rest of the Perth East fire fleet in serving all of Perth East and a portion of Perth South, which doesn’t have it’s own fire department and instead relies on service provided by the Perth East, St. Marys and Granton departments.

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