Saanich Fire going green

New engine uses 85 per cent less energy while idling

Deputy fire chief Stephen Hanna and fire chief Michael Burgess stand with Saanich Fire Department’s new fire engine. The truck has a generator that can operate its machinery without having to leave the Cummins diesel engine running.

It’s painted red but the unassuming large box mounted behind the cab of Saanich Fire Department’s newest engine might as well be green.

The 2015 Smeal fire engine, or Engine No. 2, replaces a 1990 Pierce Pumper Truck at Saanich Fire Hall No. 2 on Elk Lake Road.

The new truck cost $602,000, and is equipped with anti-idle technology that brings a level of carbon-reducing technology to Saanich that is still new to the firefighting industry, said Saanich Fire Chief Michael Burgess.

“When we’re at a call, our truck and officers stay there for hours following the actual fire fight, when the truck’s engine is needed to pump water,” Burgess explained.

During that time a normal engine idles while the officers continue to monitor the fire until everything is done. The new engine’s anti-idling technology uses an on-board electric generator system to operate equipment powered by the truck and eliminate the need to idle the main chassis engine.

“The generator will consume one-quarter the amount of fuel of the large truck engine, reducing emissions and fuel costs,” Burgess said.

The anti-idling operation of the engine should save 1,300 litres of fuel per year,  a reduction of carbon emissions by 13 per cent and an average of 11 per cent less in fuel costs each year.

“This investment in greening and modernizing our fleet contributes to the health, safety and sustainability of our community,” Burgess said. “Using anti-idling technology is one way the department is reducing our carbon footprint, emissions and fuel costs.”

Saanich is committed to reducing carbon emissions in municipal operations by 50 per cent by 2020.

The new apparatus boasts a custom side-mount pumper powered by a Cummins 12,500-horsepower engine. It carries four firefighters with modernized extrication equipment, ladders, hose and medical supplies. It can pump 2,250 gallons of water per minute.

Saanich’s carbon fund, established in 2007 to encourage low-carbon municipal projects, funded the engine’s idle reduction technology package.

The 1990 Pierce Pumper fire truck will not be retired but will be placed as one of three engines Saanich Fire keeps on reserve.



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