By Ronda Scholting
It’s nearly 43 feet long, weighs in at more than 36 tons and carries 500 gallons of water. West Metro Fire Rescue’s newest apparatus is a combination fire truck and rescue truck, designed to get firefighters out the door and on scene faster.
The rescue is housed at West Metro Station 10, one of the homes for West Metro’s Technical Rescue Team. Before the rig went into service, when the alarm sounded, firefighters would often have to rush to move gear between two different pieces of apparatus, depending on the call. For a fire or medical emergency, the crew would take the engine. For a technical or rope rescue or building collapse, the rescue truck. The new rescue fulfills both roles.
“It’s really no exaggeration to say that seconds can save lives and property,” said Fire Chief Don Lombardi, West Metro Fire Rescue. “The quicker our crews get on scene, the quicker we can help. That’s why it made sense to combine the capabilities of two different apparatus into one.”
Known as Rescue 10, the new apparatus is just one piece of the district’s overall fire protection strategy that recently gave West Metro a Class 1 ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating. The rating – which is the highest rating given to fire agencies – should translate to lower property insurance rates for home and business owners. Having a Class 1 rating means the Insurance Services Office believes West Metro has the resources needed to provide elite fire protection services to the district.
Since it’s been in service, Rescue 10 and crew have been on scene at a number of fires, car crashes and high profile calls, like the rescue of a teenager from a mine shaft near Golden last December. West Metro’s Technical Rescue Team was called in to assist Golden Fire Rescue on the incident. Rescuers used a rope system to lift the teenager to the surface, and he was then transported to a local hospital. He and his family later met with the crews to say thanks.
Stowed behind some 20 doors, there is a wide range of equipment on board Rescue 10. As both a fire engine and a heavy rescue truck, it carries hundreds of feet of varying diameter fire hose, 13 ladders, a full compliment of extrication equipment, hundreds of feet of life safety rope and specialized equipment for rescuing victims from a building collapse, trench collapse or confined space.
Rescue 10 was added to West Metro’s fleet through a detailed planning process that is part of the district’s strategic plan.