The Blaine City Council paid a visit to the city hall fire station garage before its Oct. 4 meeting to see new vehicles purchased for the fire and police departments.
The Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View (SBM) Fire Department received three new fire trucks and an air supply utility truck.
The police department is replacing seven old squad cars with seven new vehicles.
Lt. Dan Anderson of SBM Fire Station No. 3 said the new fire engines have shorter wheel bases and are thus much easier to maneuver than the old fire trucks.
Even though the vehicles are shorter, they can still seat the same number of firefighters because of the smaller water storage tank and the configuration of the pump.
The old trucks had water storage tanks of either 750 or 1,000 gallons while the three new fire engines have 500-gallon tanks, according to SBM Fire Chief Nyle Zikmund.
Zikmund said if a fire cannot be knocked down with 200 to 300 gallons of water because it becomes too large; they typically would need thousands of gallons. The additional water the old fire engines provided was seldom needed except on the east side of the city where fire hydrants used to be more limited.
The community is more developed and thus has more hydrants than before, so the larger water storage tanks on the fire engines are less necessary, Anderson and Zikmund said.
Rather than having large compartments on the side of the truck to hold various gear, a contractor out of Lino Lakes created sliding shelves that allows equipment like the Jaws of Life to be stacked on different levels instead of in one area.
There are still larger compartments for the biggest gear, however.
The air supply vehicle have six high pressure cylinders that can fill 80 to 100 SCBA bottles to 4,500 psi before needing to be refilled. SBM Battalion Chief Dan Retka said they filled about 72 SCBA bottles at the Cloverleaf Apartments fire in late September.
There is no compressor needed for this new truck as there was in the old truck, so there is much more room for storage.
There is a collapsible shelter, portable heaters, collapsible chairs that can hold ice in the armrests so firefighters can cool their core body temperature and a monitor that can read a firefighter’s oxygen level in their blood. Zikmund added that there is also space for water bottles and dried snacks. All these things are important for keeping up firefighters’ strength while on-call.
According to Zikmund, each of the three fire engines had a base price of $352,000, but the total budget was $400,000 once loose equipment stored on the fire trucks was included.
The air supply truck cost $160,000 and the additional equipment added another $20,000.
Including the new vehicles when they come in, Blaine Police has a total of 17 squad cars, according to Chief Chris Olson. Most of the older vehicles are the Ford Crown Victoria model, but the department does have one Dodge Charger. The seven new vehicles will be Chevy Caprice.
As with the older vehicles, the new Chevy Caprices have in-dash video cameras, but the storage device is easier to get to than it used to be, which Olson said will help with maintenance. The squads also have rescue equipment, medical gear, spike strips to puncture vehicle tires during pursuits and an ice rescue suit.
The base price for each squad car is $26,812, according to Olson. The cost for additional equipment varies for each vehicle because the department uses as much equipment from the old squad cars as possible.
Eric Hagen is at [email protected]