Grand Forks Fire Chief Dale Heriot and the department are looking for a new fire truck.
Heriot and two other fire department members are looking at specifications and options available through a number of fire truck manufacturers and hope to have a new truck soon.
Not that there is anything specifically wrong with the current vehicle.
“Our current ladder truck is 20 years old and has timed out due to age,” Heriot said.
Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS), the company that assesses the ability of communities to protect themselves from fire, puts 20 years at the limit of service for front line fire equipment if a community wishes to retain its highest possible Public Fire Protection Certification and Dwelling Protection Grade.
These assessments carried out by FUS help determine the level of commercial, public and private dwelling fire risk in a community.
In turn these assessments are used by insurance companies to set premiums for their clients.
“Eighty per cent of the insurers take their recommendations from them,” Heriot said. “We are rated at a 6. In the event that we didn’t replace our fire truck then there is a good possibility that our insurance grade rating might change to a 7 (on a 1 to 10 scale, the lower the rating, the lower insurance rates are charged in the community).”
That would likely mean a fire insurance increase for the municipality and every commercial business and private property owner.
The new truck will be able to do a lot more than the old one, however. “Equipment today is much more versatile,” Heriot said. “We can use it for so many different things in the fire service: high and low angle rescue, embankment type rescue on roads.”
He added that the ladder will be able to deploy horizontally as well as vertically to assist in rescuing people in flood situations. They will be looking to increase the pumping capacity as well, increasing the diameter of the supply line from about 10 to 12 centimetres (four to five inches).
Once a concrete cost assessment is complete, the fire department will approach city council and ask for a Request For Purchase.
The process is lengthy; fire trucks are all custom made. Even after approval and selecting a manufacturer, there will be a nine-month delay before delivery, Heriot said.