Firefighters get new rescue truck

Assistant Fire Chief Charles Balke checks out the new Cortez fire truck from atop the vehicle. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Assistant Fire Chief Charles Balke checks out the new Cortez fire truck from atop the vehicle.

Awaiting its first official call, a new 2013 Kovatch Mobile Equipment rescue pumper now sits in the parking lot of the Cortez Fire Protection District.

“It has that new-car smell,” said Assistant Fire Chief Charles Balke. “We’re eager to put it into service.”

Before making its first run, firefighters will undergo hours of in-service training from the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer on the $477,000 piece of equipment.

Firefighters will also install and mount the pumper’s equipment and undergo driving training.

“We’re following a detailed, structured plan before it’s put into service,” said Fire Chief Jeff Vandevoorde. “There’s a lot of new stuff on this pumper that we have to learn.”

Ceremoniously pushed into the fire station for service on Jan. 20, the pumper offers safety features not previously found on the department’s equipment. The 1,000-gallon pumper will thrust water at 1,750 gallons per minute, a surge of 500 gallons per minute over the previous pumper.

“That increase will help us get ahead of any fire,” Balke said.

Other features of the new 25-ton pumper include rollover protection safety restraints, dual in-cab video cameras, automatic snow chain deployment system, and storage space for extrication, stabilization and hazardous-materials equipment.

“The entire truck, from front to rear bumper, was designed specifically for Cortez needs,” Balke said.

The 10-year lease purchase financing for the new truck was made possible through a grant, capital reserves and a trade-in. A recent voter-approved mill levy increase was also instrumental in obtaining the new equipment.

“We’re extremely thankful for the citizens who voted for the mill levy,” said Vandevoorde.

Balke estimates it would take a team of firefighters about an hour to wash the KME pumper. To wax it, add another hour to the job, he said.

tbaker@cortezjournal.com

Jim Koehler demonstrates the radio inside the new Cortez fire truck for local firefighter Staton Jeter. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Jim Koehler demonstrates the radio inside the new Cortez fire truck for local firefighter Staton Jeter.

Assistant Fire Chief Charles Balke discusses some of the features on the new Cortez fire truck. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Assistant Fire Chief Charles Balke discusses some of the features on the new Cortez fire truck.