The Castlegar Fire Department has a new response trailer to assist the entire region in the case of a flammable-liquids fire.
The fully equipped trailer was provided by Emergency Response Assistance Canada (ERAC).
ERAC is a not-for-profit emergency preparedness and response organization that is supported by industries that produce and transport flammable liquids and gases.
“It is the first of its kind in the southern B.C.,” said CFD fire chief Sam Lattanzio.
He explained that ERAC felt Castlegar was an ideal location to station a response trailer due to its centralized location and the fact that the Crowsnest Highway runs through town.
ERAC also provided training to CFD members on how to use all of the onboard equipment.
Lattanzio said the type of incidents the trailer would most likely respond to would be a rail incident involving flammable gases or liquids, a tanker or propane truck accident on the highway or any local incident involving flammable fuels or gases.
The trailer is filled with hoses, fittings, pumps, generators and consumables such as the foams needed to fight chemical fires.
“The sweet part of this is that we didn’t pay a dime for it,” said Lattanzio.
If the trailer is activated by ERAC, not only will all of the equipment and consumables used in the incident be paid for by the organization, but the firefighters wages will be as well.
The CFD also has the privilege of using the trailer for local issues. If they use the trailer for a non-ERAC incident, the only cost to the department is the replacement of any consumables that are used.
Lattanzio foresees that the trailer will also be useful for other scenarios such as forest fires.
The pump onboard the trailer is capable of pumping 550 gallons per minute — about half the capacity of the CFD’s fire trucks.
“What that means is that the pump could fill a 1,000-gallon tank in two minutes,” explained Lattanzio. “We could use it to siphon water out of the Columbia River to fill fire trucks.”
The CFD will also be rolling out a hazardous materials trailer soon. It will be equipped with hazmat gear including fully encapsulated suits for the firefighters.