In the past, Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) would have to deploy traditional fire trucks during a weather emergency. But now, there is a new option.
On Friday, the District will put two new brush trucks into service. These trucks can do more than extinguish brush and grass fires; the multipurpose all-terrain vehicles can traverse through difficult terrain to rescue and transport trapped victims, quickly maneuver their way to hard-to-reach house fires, and drive through nearly any type of severe weather situation.
The vehicles are replacing brush trucks that are more than 28 years old. The old vehicles had one specific use — extinguishing brush fires. The new trucks can extinguish brush and grass fires, traverse rugged and off-road areas, and transport a victim who is confined to a backboard or stokes basket. They can hold up to five people — an entire fire suppression crew — compared to two people in the old vehicle.
“These vehicles will also help the community during severe weather or if there is a natural disaster,” CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown says. “It wasn’t too long ago when we experienced a tornado firsthand, and we’re no strangers to flash floods, severe winter weather and more. Our rescue pumpers and ladder truck can drive in severe weather, but these trucks will be more efficient in these situations. No matter what mother nature sends our way, they will help us to reach our residents when they need us.”
The trucks are fully stocked with emergency rescue, medical and fire suppression equipment that can deploy fire extinguishing foam or water.
“We are located in a service area that includes the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, low-lying floodplains, hillside cliffs, undeveloped areas of brush and grass, numerous parks and recreation areas, and more than 20 miles of trails,” Brown says. “This diverse landscape means there are many emergency situations where a traditional fire truck or ambulance simply cannot reach the scene. These new trucks give us the ability to reach victims, fires and other emergency situations in areas formerly only accessible by foot or in some cases boat.”
The District has also seen an increase in new homes being built in areas that are remote or geographically hard to get to.
“Homes that have a long, unpaved driveway or one that is too narrow, too steep, or has a culvert with a low load rating can be very difficult to reach with our traditional fire trucks. These new trucks will provide immediate access for us to start putting out the fire and rescuing victims,” Brown says.
Training on the trucks was recently completed and they are now stationed at CCFR Station #5, 2934 Ehlmann Rd. on the north side of the District, and at CCFR Station #6, 1151 Jungs Station Rd. on the south side of the District, to provide complete access and coverage of the entire fire district. Funding for the trucks was made possible by resident approval of the SAFE-T (Securing A Future of Excellence — Together) bond issue, which helped provide funding for a community-developed long-range plan for the District.