The Burns Lake fire department hopes to begin the tendering process for the purchase of a new rescue truck this year.
This would allow that a new truck be purchased in 2018 – one year earlier than what was approved in the 2016 budget.
According to Rob Krause, Burns Lake’s director of protective services (fire chief), the current truck is overweight and no longer capable of meeting the needs of the service area.
“We have had to take measures such as carrying only half a tank of water in order to reduce weight to meet legal limits,” he said. “And we currently are not capable of carrying all the needed equipment on this truck.”
In order to purchase a new truck in 2018, village staff needs council’s approval to begin the tendering process.
“It will take six to eight months to go to tender and another six to eight months to complete the truck once a tender is awarded,” explained Krause.
The estimated price of replacing the truck is $320,000. The village expects to have two-thirds of the purchase price saved in reserves by the end of 2017, and the rest would be financed through the Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia.
The current 2002 truck has been leased to the village by the Burns Lake Band, which owns the truck. The truck was leased to the Village of Burns Lake in 2003 for the sum of $1 per year.
“This was part of an agreement between the village and the Burns Lake Band for fire protection services on band lands,” explained Sheryl Worthing, Burns Lake’s chief administrative officer.
“The Burns Lake Band purchased the truck as a mini engine to provide fire protection to band properties prior to entering into a full service agreement with the village,” she continued. “Upon reaching an agreement for full services, the truck was leased to the fire department.”
“The truck remains the property of the Burns Lake Band and must be returned to them when the village no longer has a need for the truck,” she added. “If/when a new rescue truck is purchased, the fire department may consider a request to the band to retain the truck to use at the departments training facility which is in the development stage.”
Krause said the truck has been overweight since it was put into service.
“The basic premise with that truck was that it was spec’d out by the Burns Lake Band to be a fire truck, but when it was leased to the village, we turned it into a rescue vehicle because that’s what we needed it to do,” said Krause.
“Unfortunately, it was spec’d out at almost 100 per cent of capacity without all the rescue tools that we needed to carry for all the highway rescue work that we do,” he continued. “Once we put those tools on, it made it overweight.”
“It came to a head three years ago when the crew wanted to purchase some additional equipment and we realized we had to cut weight,” he added.
The fire department says the rescue truck is used on the highest percentage of calls – 41 per cent. Burns Lake firefighters respond to various incidents such as structural, wildland and vehicle fires, water/ice rescues, vehicle extrications, land search and rescues, carbon monoxide and fire alarm calls, as well as medical aid calls.
The fire department anticipates that the new truck would last approximately 20 years.