BANTRY’S new fire engine will help save lives and property.
That’s according to the station officer, Ian Vickery, and the crew of eight, who turned out last Friday for the delivery of the new Class B fire appliance.
Paid for by the department of housing and local government, the new vehicle replaces a 15-year-old fire truck that is going to a less demanding station.
The new fire engine didn’t arrive in time to help with the clean-up of the 53 properties damaged during Storm Francis, but it will be put to good use over the next 15 to 20 years in what is one of the busiest stations in West Cork.
According to Ian, the new appliance has all the latest technology, including one rather special feature – a telescopic mast light that will be of great assistance when responding to night-time incidents.
Another piece of gear that has Ian and the boys excited is CAF, compressed air foam, a new fire-fighting tool that can be laid out like a protective blanket.
‘This will be particularly useful when we are trying to tackle gorse fires on a number of fronts,’ said Ian.
The new truck also has 50% greater pumping capacity. This means it can pump 3,500 litres a minute, which makes it more efficient in fighting fires.
Ian said the converse is true, too. ‘It can also pump 3,500 litres of water a minute away from a site, which is particularly useful in times of flood.’
James Fogarty, the deputy chief executive of Cork County Council, which operates the countywide fire department, praised Bantry Fire Brigade for the excellent work it does in serving a population of almost 11,000.
The Bantry catchment area includes the inner part of Bantry Bay, the Whiddy Island oil terminal, and both the Sheep’s Head and Beara peninsulas.
Bantry also has a water tanker that offers additional water reserves when dealing with fires in remote areas, and a second Class B fire appliance.
Ian explained that having two fire appliances means that both trucks – each containing a crew of four socially-distanced firefighters – can attend fires, floods and accidents in safety and be more efficient.