By Jaime Polmateer
Blackpool and Clearwater Fire Departments got a generous donation toward a collaborative strategy the two services have been working on to combat wildfire threats to the community.
Interior Saving Credit Union put in $10,000, the Community Forest Association donated $8,990 and the Royal Bank of Canada kicked in $1,000, all of which went into the purchase of four FireBozz water cannons, four cart cannons and two high pressure pumps that’ll be shared between the two fire departments.
“Blackpool and Clearwater Fire (departments) have been looking at ways to enhance resources and equipment to be deployed in an effective and efficient manner to maximize what we have,” said Mike Savage, deputy chief for the Blackpool Fire Department.
“We looked at gaps in equipment and came up with some idea on how best to enhance our equipment arsenal to combat wildfires.”
Savage added the new equipment helps the firefighters’ make a defensive front if a wildfire rages to close to the community by creating a dome of humidity around the flames, lowering the air temperature and dampening the fire fuels, which in turn slows the spread of the blaze.
The new FireBozz water cannons aren’t just limited to wildfires, but can also be used for exposure protection during a house or structure fire, and can also be set up near a vehicle fire and used remotely when there’s a chance of an explosion that could hurt firefighters on scene.
“By raising the relative humidity and cooling the area it helps to slow the fire progression, allowing for other fire fighter tactics to be employed because these units are a stand alone units, which allows for limited manpower to monitor and maintain a line,” Savage said.
“Combining these items with what each Fire department already has, means initial response teams for those departments can deploy their inventory and can call on the other under mutual aid to combine the total units to create a much larger line of defense.”
That also includes mutual aid with Vavenby and Little Fort’s fire departments, he said, or as called upon by the Office of the Fire Commissioner or BC Wildfire Management Branch to support structure protection in areas outside established fire protection areas.
Clearwater Mayor John Harwood, who was on hand for the presentations, also gave his praise to the organizations that donated funds toward the collaborative strategy.
“To see these groups come up with (funds) and help our local people to be safer, from my point of view that’s phenomenal,” Harwood said.
“I like their dynamic of saying, ‘We’ll help protect all people,’ because really that’s what that (donation) was all about. Protecting you and I.”