South Cariboo fire departments now have a fully equipped structural protection unit ready for service to help protect local homes.
The unit’s enclosed trailer contains enough rooftop sprinklers to install on about 20 homes should an emergency wildfire situation occur.
108 Mile Ranch Volunteer Fire Department (108RVFD) chief Marcelle Ried says multiple local departments chipped in funds to build it and cover training costs.
“There were a few guys who went to a special course [on how] to deploy the trailer, and then we can train the rest of our members in the fall on how to use the equipment.”
In addition to the funding for various parts, including sprinklers, garden hoses, pipes and valves, 100 Mile House Fire-Rescue donated a pump and fire hoses, 108RVFD donated a generator and fire hoses, and Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department donated a bladder to transport water, Ried explains.
“I think it was probably $1,500 per department donated cash-wise from their budgets.”
The structural protection unit identification is clearly printed on the trailer, as well as the logos of all the various fire departments that contributed.
Ried notes the trailer is parked at the 108VFD, which has the best available space for it.
Any time there is a need for it, volunteer fire departments will contact him and he can then send the trailer out pretty quickly, he adds.
“If we are called with an interface fire – so one that is infringing on structures – we would deploy the trailer and a crew with it.”
Ried explains the unit’s accompanying crew can be from any local fire department, each of which already has several members trained for deployment.
While it depends on the structure size, an average home would require about 10 sprinklers to protect it, including covering a perimeter beyond the rooftop, he says.
However, it is important homeowners and businesses take their own fire safety precautions, Ried adds, because the sprinkler unit won’t make a structure invincible to fire, and a larger-scale wildfire could leave them unprotected.
“People like piling their firewood right up against their house – and that is dry wood – but, it’s common sense to try to keep all that stuff away from the home.”
Keeping the property around buildings clean is a key step toward a more fire-safe condition, such as ensuring gutters and roofs are clear of pine needles and leaves and situating woodpiles, woodsheds, trees and shrubs well away from the house, he explains.
“If you have got nice, lush, green grass around your home, chances are you are a bit more protected. But if you’ve got the dry cedar shavings, or you’ve got lots of pine needles, you might not be so lucky.”