The Lake Country Fire Department is thrilled with its latest acquisition, a T-71 tactical tender truck that will be a huge help in fighting urban interface fires. (District of Lake Country photo)

The Lake Country Fire Department is thrilled with its latest acquisition, a T-71 tactical tender truck that will be a huge help in fighting urban interface fires. (District of Lake Country photo)

Lake Country Fire Department adds new truck to arsenal

The T-71 tactical tender truck will be a major help in fighting urban interface fires

The timing couldn’t be better.

With a wildfire looming across Okanagan Lake, the Lake Country Fire Department recently received a new tactical tender truck for the community to be housed at Station 71.

This piece of equipment is designed to target a major threat to the area – Wildland Urban Interface Structure Protection.

The new tender apparatus carries 2,000 imperial gallons (9092 L) of water. It is not just a big tanker, but is an agile water transport vehicle able to fill port-a-tanks in areas lacking water supply with two portable pumps to draft out of a static water source if the truck cannot get close.

“This engine is designed especially for wildland interface operations – in other words, emergency fire response to subdivisions that border forests,” said Fire Chief Steve Windsor. “It can pump 840 gallons per minute and has a remote control monitor so it can pump and roll – operated by the officer in the cab. It is also outfitted with a 2,500 gallon port-a-tank that can be deployed when necessary.”

The new T-71 truck is staffed by one driver/engineer, one senior firefighter/officer from the LCFD paid-on-call membership. The tactical tender is fully stocked with fire hose, appliances, chain saws, and even an electric cooler to keep drinking water cold. It has enough room for storage of gear and tents for when the team manning this asset is deployed to assist on wildfires in other areas of need.

“The big difference in this truck is not just the water capacity on a single axle apparatus, but the fact that we have ‘onboard’ pumping capacity very similar to what we call a Type 1 Engine – meaning we can throw big water without the need of another big fire truck involved,” said deputy chief Brent Penner.

“Add the high volume monitor (water cannon) on the top of the rig and two members of our firefighting team can make a big impact on a fire immediately upon arrival using the pump and roll feature. More of our team can be trained to drive the new tender since it only requires a Class 5 with special air brake ticket, not a Class 1 or 3 licence.”

For those interested in seeing the new engine up close, LCFD is seeking applicants interested in becoming paid-on-call firefighters.

Interested men and women are invited to fill out an application and drop it off at the fire administration office at 10591 Okanagan Centre Road East. Applicants must have a valid B.C. driver’s licence, be physically fit and pass a criminal record check. Applications are available online at www.lakecountry.bc.ca/joinLCFD.

READ MORE: North Okanagan communities remain dedicated to wildfire help


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