Golden Fire Rescue gets new fire truck

Golden Fire Rescue’s new Rosenbauer Ford F-550 response truck has arrived, and it has the entire department excited and out on test drives.

The new truck replaces a 1994 ambulance, which was kept outdoors, and a 10-year-old pickup truck, which responded to medical calls, and resided at the back of the fire hall with access out the rear of the building. The new apparatus, or vehicle, will be parked indoors, meaning that all of the fire department’s vehicles will reside inside the fire hall. It’s a tight squeeze, but fire Chief Dave Balding is happy to replace the two older vehicles with one that is purpose-built for what the fire department needs.

“It’s larger than the two we replaced. None of our apparatuses are outdoors any longer. That’s a big step for us,” Balding said.

The new truck was designed to be larger than the pickup truck it replaced, but short enough to still fit inside the fire hall. A maximum length was attached to the design criteria to ensure it would fit indoors, close the back doors, and have room to walk around it. Currently, four large trucks are parked inside the fire hall regularly, plus the new Ford F-550. The fire hall has two entrances for the trucks to go in and out of, and the new truck will remain parked at the back for ease of access.

The Rosenbauer cost the Town of Golden $185,444, and took a little longer than expected to arrive, partially because of the build time in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The fully customized truck can seat five fire rescue personnel, and is equipped for medical calls, confined space rescues, wildfires, and can travel up logging roads to access small bush fires. It has its own tank of water on the back, meaning it can put out small fires without the use of a fire hydrant.

After the truck was manufactured, Balding went to do a final inspection, and ironed out a couple of issues. Once it was complete, the truck was driven to Red Deer, Alta., before arriving in Golden on Wednesday, March 6. Golden Fire Rescue ran through an orientation on the truck, and took it out to get a feel for the way it drives.

By Thursday, March 7, the truck already saw its first call for service. Since its arrival, Golden Fire Rescue has been working to put all of their necessary equipment into its many storage cupboards and drawers.

“It’s a big job, taking equipment from two trucks and organizing it into one,” Balding said. “There continues to be space for more equipment.

The truck is outfitted with storage doors that open up with big metal drawers inside of them, for ease of access to the equipment it stores. On top, there are more large storage compartments. The ample space means that the truck can carry nearly anything the fire department would need for a call. It is also equipped with a multitude of sensors that tell the driver if any of the compartments are open, or if the ladder hasn’t been put away properly, and if the flood lights are secured, ensuring that the crew doesn’t drive away and damage any equipment.

“It’s essentially a toolbox on wheels,” Balding said. “There’s a lot of engineering behind what you see in our driveway.”

The funding for the Rosenbauer Ford F-550 was granted through town council, and helps increase the fire department’s functionality. With the new truck, Golden Fire Rescue is better equipped for medical calls, confined space rescues, and wildfires. The smaller truck enables the department to drive to places where one of the larger engines might not be able to.

Available space inside the fire hall is limited, so it is important to Golden Fire Rescue that all apparatus and equipment fit inside the building.

The recent upgrading of the mezzanine, completed last year, has also allowed for more space indoors.

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