Almost everyone has a smart phone in their back pocket and now, the Selkirk Fire Department has what you might call a smart truck in its firefighting arsenal.
The Department’s new pumper truck is loaded with technology that makes safety a priority and saves firefighters crucial time in emergency situations. The truck features SAM (Scene Apparatus Manager) technology, an integrated total waterflow control system that manages the vehicle’s pump, tank, intakes and discharges.
“The truck is designed to be safer. There’s more comfort for the firefighters and the handling is way better,” said Selkirk Fire Chief Dave Milner.
“This truck has a new SAM unit which means it’s more computer controlled than just having basic handles and that makes it easier for the operator to control the water supply in the truck and out of the truck.”
Digital system saves time
Milner says the operator works off a control pad, and the digital system is responsive, saving firefighters crucial time.
“There’s more control, it’s safer. If there’s an issue with the truck or the water supply, the truck will actually stop, it’ll switch over automatically to a different water supply instead of the operator having to do it manually, which takes time.
“The person that’s running the truck can be on the outside helping others, moving equipment, or changing bottles, doing small things. They don’t have to be inside all the time, they can be on the outside and be a quick set of extra hands if needed.”
Technology manages the pumping process
The pumper truck is equipped with a 1,500 gpm (us gallons per minute) pump and has a 800 imperial gallon water tank.
The SAM system was designed by Jason Cerrano, a firefighter and mechanical engineer.
According to Cerrano, the truck itself has the same trusted components from pump to valves to plumbing, but it’s overlaid with technology to manage the pumping process for you.
“Every pump operator follows the same basic steps on a fire – put the truck in pump gear, open tank to pump and circulate water. When you put SAM in pump gear, it just automatically opens the tank to pump and recirculates water. SAM compresses your steps from three to one,” Cerrano said.
“We follow the same steps for the rest of pumping fire too. That efficiency is especially crucial when you move to transition water sources and you need to do several things at once, like filling the tank while rebalancing hand lines. Put all this together and you get more time to do work, with less radio traffic in the first few minutes of the fire. A SAM truck is not a different fire truck, it’s a better fire truck.”
New technology impressive
The new pumper will be Engine 16 and replaces Engine 11 from 2001. Engine 11 is still in good shape, but Milner says when you’re responding to 300 calls per year, it’s important the truck be ergonomic, which results in fewer injuries to firefighters.
Milner says firefighter safety and comfort factor in too, and the passenger seats in the back of the truck can warm firefighters up or cool them down, depending on the situation.
Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson says the new technology is impressive and the men and women who dedicate themselves to keeping the city safe deserve the best.
“We have a fire department in Selkirk that is second to none and replacing an almost 20-year-old pumper with this new, state of the art unit is what we need to do,” Johannson said.
“We don’t want our people fighting harder, we want them fighting smarter and this new truck makes that happen. Seconds are precious in a fire situation, and this new truck will let our firefighters do their jobs better.”
Safe and healthy community a priority
Kristy Hill, Selkirk’s Director of Protective Services says replacing Engine 11 was identified in City’s Capital Asset Management Program and is aligned with the City’s Community Strategic Plan which makes having a safe and healthy community and more active management of capital assets a priority.
“Fire trucks are critical pieces of city infrastructure. When they are needed, they simply must work. While a lot of resources go into good operation and maintenance of our fire equipment, timely capital replacement is also required. The replacement of this pumper represents not only an investment into Selkirk’s volunteer fire department – but an investment into the security and safety of every citizen of Selkirk,” Hill said.
Built in Winnipeg and recognized at U of M Technology Centre
The truck is so impressive that it was featured at the University of Manitoba’s Vehicle Technology Centre for its ‘This is How We Roll’, vehicle and equipment showcase on Sept. 27.
The showcase highlights advanced technology and careers available to students.
The truck was built by Winnipeg-based Fort Garry Firetrucks, originally for meant to showcase new safety features and technology available for those departments looking to design and purchase a firetruck.
Prior to this truck becoming available, the city was already in the process of going through a Request for Proposal for the purchase of a new truck, however the timeline to build a brand-new truck can vary between 18 and 36 months. Purchasing the demo truck allowed the Selkirk Fire Department to get the truck in just six weeks and greatly reduced the amount of staff time required for this project allowing them to focus on other activities in the city.
“This truck has almost the same requirements as the one we were designing, so it saved us a lot of time in the design phase, and it’s the truck we would have designed anyway. It is a demo, but it’s a brand-new truck and it was just a six week wait,” Milner said.