New MV pumper means faster, safer firefighting

Madawaska Valley Fire Department took possession of a new pumper truck for North Hall in October. When Fire Chief Corwin Quade invited The Current to take a closer look at it, we started with a walk around the truck while he pointed out some of its features. The $386,000 state of the art vehicle meets the newest National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code. He  said proudly, “This is quite a piece of equipment. We’re one of the best-equipped fire departments in the County now.” Above: MV Fire Chief Corwin Quade on the top deck.

But like all good things, it resulted from a lengthy planning process. Quade said, “The first quote for the truck was a half million dollars.” Explaining that it contained many extras, he said, “We went back to the drawing board.” They found they could make it work safely, meet the Code, and save money by replacing some electronic controls with manual features. He said that MV firefighters are strong enough to pull a lever instead of pushing a button. After six months of careful consideration, they had agreed a revised set of features which saved MV taxpayers $114,000.

One example is the built in trash line that, Quade said, had included a hose reel instead of a straight trash line. Omitting the reel saved $25,000 off the final cost. The Chief called it a 200-foot “quick attack line” with a built-in 30 gallon foam attachment. He said that with the trash line they could quickly extinguish a chemical fire, vehicle fire, or a bale on fire in a barn using a targeted stream.

As well as handling small targeted fires, the new pumper boasts a top deck that will reach as high as a 9-storey building. Citing the new Valley Manor and the St. Francis Herb Farm expansion, Quade said, “This will actually lob the water to do an interior attack. We can hit anything now with this. Before, we had to be on the ground to try and fight the interior.” He said the difference is “night and day” in terms of safety for MV firefighters. When they tried it at the hydrant next to the North Hall, the hose fired water “clear across the ravine” without raising the pressure, and with the truck running at an idle.

Quade said they can now use a 3,000 gallon tanker and deliver more water to a fire faster because the new truck offers 350 horsepower whereas the old one had only 300 horsepower. He said in a test run up a nearby hill with a full load of water and all equipment, the new truck ran at 90 kph while the previous one could barely make it over 70 kph.

Quade holds the Bluetooth headset in the pumper cab.

Another feature that pleases Quade is the wireless Bluetooth headset for the deck operator. It allows the operator to talk to firefighters and to despatch. “Within 28 feet of the truck, he can talk to anybody.” Previously, the deck operator had to climb down off the truck and enter the cab to talk on the radio. The Bluetooth headset promises not just speed of communication, but much greater safety for our volunteer firefighters. “Everything’s right here for both driver and passenger – all the emergency equipment, two-way radio, built into the console which makes it very easy to work.”

Quade praised the MV firefighters and said after only a few training sessions, “They’re proficient on it already. They take it seriously. For volunteers – it’s amazing what we’ve got. It’s just incredible working with a crew like this … and they do such a good job. They’re not in it for glory; they’re just happy to help.”

The Chief also applauded the last two Councils for effective asset management with a view to the safety of the community. He said, “They’ve been good to work with. We’re looking at how the community is growing. The [old] trucks were great at one point, but … [as] we get more buildings, we get more and more calls…. Champlain Gardens was our biggest concern, because of the wooden structure. At least now we’ve got the proper equipment to hit it hard when we hit it.” With new lines that are 1 ¾ inches in diameter instead of 1 ½ inches, the new pumper can put out double the volume of water than the previous truck.

Fire safety education pays off

Quade said that last fall they had received 70 calls, but this year MV Fire Dept. had had just 42 by mid-October. He said the first year he worked in MV there were 98 calls. He praised members of the community for being vigilant about wildfires, saying this year “We haven’t had any real wildfires.” There were a lot of nuisance calls about campfires in the village, but he said those only involve his attendance not a fire truck. Often people had just moved in and did not realize they were doing something that was not permitted. He is happy to give the education and says people are “very decent to deal with.”

Seasonal safety tips

1. Clean your chimney: Quade said his Number One Tip for fall is “Clean your chimney. When we were out on Fire Prevention Week [Oct.3-9], we inspected 21 buildings. Eighty-two percent of people had smoke alarms, but nobody cleaned their chimney.” He said if birds or mice built their nests in there, “All it takes is a little bit of heat up there and that lights up – now you’ve suddenly got yourself a chimney fire which can turn into a structure fire pretty quick.” He said the cost of hiring a chimney sweep (about $200 to $250) is “Cheap insurance to stop your house burning down.”

2. Carbon Monoxide alarms: If your chimney is blocked by a nest, carbon monoxide (CO) can enter your home so it’s important to have a CO alarm. He said MV Fire Dept. handed out nine CO alarms during their inspections. While many people have smoke alarms, they never thought of CO alarms, but “It’s been the law since 2005.”

3. Call with your questions: Quade emphasized that inspections are primarily about education; it’s protection, not enforcement. He invites MV residents, “If you have a question, call us. We’re here to make sure you’re safe first.”

One comment

  1. Pingback: New MV pumper means faster, safer firefighting - Madawaska Valley Current - Fireground

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top
Comment Rules

  • Please show respect to the opinions of others no matter how seemingly far-fetched.
  • Abusive, foul language, and/or divisive comments may be deleted without notice.
  • In order to avoid confusion in the community, commenters must provide their full name (first and last) and a valid email address.
  • Comments must be limited to the number of words displayed above the comment box.

Verified by MonsterInsights