Newman Lake Fire and Rescue added two new vehicles to its fleet this summer, medic trucks that are smaller, lighter and easier to maneuver than the brush trucks the mostly volunteer fire district was using to respond to medical calls.
They’ve been named Squad 13-1 and Squad 13-2.
The heavy duty 4-wheel-drive trucks are large, but they’re still a couple feet narrower than the brush trucks, said EMS officer Capt. Josh Ambach.
“The squads are smaller and more maneuverable to get into places,” he said.
Smaller and maneuverable counts in a district that is almost entirely rural and has some remote areas that are difficult to get to.
“It’s very important for us to get access into all areas,” Ambach said.
The brush trucks, which are designed to carry 500 gallons of water and fire hoses, could only fit so much emergency medical equipment tucked into various compartments. The new trucks can carry more EMS equipment, and it’s all easily accessible, Ambach said.
“All trucks have basic equipment on them to help a patient, but this truck holds more,” he said. “That truck is more set up for quick access.”
Squad 13-1, which is based at Station 1 on Starr Road, also carries the department’s technical rescue equipment, including a rescue basket strapped to the roof and rope. In the fire station’s truck bay, it’s parked inches away from the department’s rescue boat in case a water rescue is needed.
The new medic trucks also have the ability to carry five people, instead of the three people that fit inside a brush truck. The ability to carry more people was a key feature that department staff wanted, Ambach said. They also needed a high ground clearance.
“We had a list of what we were looking for,” he said. “These trucks fit everything we needed. We were only planning to buy one, but Dave Smith (Motors) gave us such a great deal we bought two.”
The new medic trucks do not mean that the brush trucks are being retired. Those are still being used to respond to fire calls, Ambach said, but they go out less than they used to.
“It’s less wear and tear on the brush trucks,” he said.
The fire district now has 10 fire apparatus including the new medic trucks, the second of which is based at the district’s Station 2 on the north side of Newman Lake.
Correspondent Nina Culver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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