The next time you hear a siren blaring, it might just be your local fire department putting its newest addition to good use.
After a year-long build and months of anticipating its arrival, the Merritt Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) has finally received its new fire engine, which takes its place as engine one in the fleet.
The fire department now has eight vehicles at their disposal, including three fire engines and a ladder truck.
More storage space is what makes the new fire engine stand out from the rest of the fleet. It boasts double the capacity compared to the fire department’s other fire engines.
The new vehicle has storage spaces on its top, and deep storage compartments on its sides compared to the other engines, allowing for more equipment to be carried to a fire — equipment that in the past required an extra vehicle in order to be delivered to firefighters at the scene.
“We arrive ready to go to work, and I think that’s a big improvement,” said Fire chief Dave Tomkinson of the upgrade the new fire engine provides.
The new engine can also carry 14 spare air tanks compared to the five the other trucks carry, which will extend the amount of time firefighters can remain at a fire before needing those resources.
“Now we’re carrying three times the amount of air bottles,” Tomkinson said.
“It’s the one division between those toxic, smoky carcinogens and firefighters ending up with cancer, so we take that seriously,” Tomkinson said.
The cabin of the new truck has about an extra foot of leg room and airbags to protect its passengers, two features none of the other fire engines have, Tomkinson told the Herald.
Acquiring the new fire engine moves the fire department’s engine three into an auxiliary role.
The new engine will be used in town with the ladder truck, while engines two and three will be deployed to calls in the fire department’s protection area outside city limits.
The fire department’s members are being trained to use the new engine over the next two weeks, and the vehicle is ready to be used in the event of a fire.