New Surrey fire trucks have water purification capabilities

Dec 19 2017, 4:48 pm

Three new fire trucks are giving the Surrey Fire Service some seriously powerful tools in regards to fire fighting and emergency preparedness.

Designed to replace three currently serving vehicles, the Surrey Fire Service will be fielding three brand new vehicles with increased water and cab capacity, and the ability to purify thousands of gallons of water per hour.

As well as increasing the ability of the Surrey Fire Service to fight fires in Surrey’s urban areas, the additional capacity gives the organization “shuttle tanker accreditation.” In Surrey’s no-water districts – agricultural and rural areas without fire hydrants – the tankers are now able to shuttle water back and forth to wherever they’re needed in a constantly stream, making up for the lack of high capacity hydrants in the region.

“When we have a major fire, or any type of fire, in the no-water district, all these tankers will respond and shuttle water from the nearest hydrant to the fire scene,” Dan Barnscher, Deputy Chief of the Surrey Fire Service, told Vancity Buzz.

But the real draw of the new trucks is their ability to purify water from any fresh water source. In the event of a potable water source disruption, the trucks are able to drop a hose in to any body of fresh water – from ponds to lakes – and purify up to 2,000 gallons of water per hour.

Barnscher said that the Fire Service more or less stumbled upon the water purification units while ordering the new trucks, and from a cost perspective just couldn’t pass them up.

“Bang for your buck, this is a fantastic asset to the city in regards to emergency preparedness, for any type of a potable water main brake, disaster, major earthquake or anything that would interrupt the water flow from the underground water system,” he said. “We have the capacity with these trucks now to provide purified water, as long as we have some kind of fresh water source.”

The units, which feature a four-step filtration and purification system, cost just $25,000 of the trucks total cost, which sits at $420,000. Barnscher said adding the units was a no-brainer, and will be something the city is happy to have – should it ever be a necessity.

“This is something we hope we never have to use, but it’s such an inexpensive expenditure over the lifespan of the vehicles,” he said. “All it takes is for one incident where there’s a major water line disruption, and in addition to a boil water advisory, this would be a great alternative to provide residents with clean drinking water.”

Surrey residents will be able to see the new trucks hitting the streets later this month.