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New Water View truck can fight fire with foam

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A new fire truck is a major first-time investment for the Upper Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department of Water View. Above, firefighters pose with the state-of-the art truck that will be the department’s primary firefighting apparatus. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

The Upper Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department’s newest fire truck, delivered this summer, has the ability to spray fire suppressing foam.

The 2012 Freightliner is going to be the main firefighting apparatus for structure fires, said department chief Billy Collier. The UMVFD will kick off a fund drive soon to pay for the new equipment, he said.

The truck’s Pierce pumper engine can pump 1,250 gallons per minute. It has a 1,000 gallon water tank.

The new truck is replacing Engine 62, an aging first-run fire truck. Some equipment has been transferred to the new truck from the older truck, which will be sold or kept as a reserve truck.

The new truck has LED emergency lights, which are brighter. They also use less power, so the truck does not need a separate generator, explained Collier.

Firefighters will now have the option of using the foam system to smother fire. Foam uses less water; it is estimated to cut water use by at least half, explained Collier.

Foam is used normally after the fire is knocked down and it is sprayed to reduce the chance of it flaring back up or rekindling, and to quell hot spots.

The percentage of foam can be adjusted so that foam penetrates and soaks into crevices to smother embers, he said.

Many firefighting departments have used “foam sticks” for years. Foam sticks are put into a special nozzle and when water flows around the stick, foam is made and sprayed. However, the amount of foam is not adjustable.

For car, metal or electrical fires, foam is superior because it suppresses faster than water. Foam also clings to surfaces and doesn’t evaporate or splash off like water.

Unlike older types of foam, the new foam will not gel while it is stored. “That was a big seller for us,” Collier said. 

The new-type foam is stored on the truck in a 30-gallon tank and will be mixed with water when needed.

Collier said the fund drive to help pay for the new truck will kick off next week. “The fire department appreciates all support,” said Collier. “Please help us protect life and property.”

After years of devoting countless man hours to repairing and refurbishing second-hand firefighting equipment, purchasing this new piece of equipment “is a major first-time investment for the department, and, it serves as a starting point for the community,” said UMVFD executive board secretary Patrick Burch.

The new truck will enable the men and women of the fire department to offer more fire protection and it represents a much-needed movement in the forward direction of fire science and advancement, said Burch.

UMVFD formed a committee to research options for purchasing and financing the truck, Burch noted.

posted 09.19.2012

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