Don’t blame the Langdon Volunteer Fire Service members if they are behaving like kids at Christmas for the next few months.
They just don’t get to unwrap their shiny new toy quite yet.
Rocky View County has purchased two fire trucks — used but new to them — and one of them will go into service in Langdon. The new ride seats six comfortably, has large compartments for equipment and is wider and longer than Engine 211, the original truck for the department that it will replace.
The new model, which is a 2008, came to the city of Englewood, Colo., a suburb of Denver, and it was made expendable when the big city took over that town’s fire department.
Compared with the 1990 TopKick that’s been in use for some 27 years ago, this is one fancy ride.
“It has electronics up the wazoo which we may or may not use,” said Langdon Volunteer Fire Service senior officer Ron Wenstrom. “Primarily it’s a bigger cab, a larger body and it’s faster, quieter and smoother.
“The technology improves all the time so we’re dealing with technology that’s 25 years ahead of what it’s replacing.
“A lot of stars just lined up all of a sudden and we took advantage of it, which I’m glad to see we did. It’s a gorgeous piece of equipment.”
The county’s ‘truck committee’ pulled together this purchase rather quickly. Last December, a member spotted trucks for sale through a broker, and then two members flew down to Denver for an inspection.
For the past several months, the county has prepped the truck for service and now that the Langdon department has taken delivery, they will be spending a couple of weeks transferring over equipment.
The new truck will become Engine 111, while the other truck in use by the service will become Engine 211.
There will also be extensive training for all 28 members of the station before the truck can drawn into active service. Once that happens, there will be a ceremony to welcome a new ‘member’ to the team.
“We call a rolling in ceremony,” Wenstrom said. “We will have a function one evening at one of our drills.
“We will push the truck back into the bay, have our chaplain bless the truck and then we have coffee and cake to commemorate the fact we have a new piece of equipment. ”It’s kind of like launching a boat. We take it very seriously.” Station 111 has become a busy place over the past few years as Langdon has grown dramatically. The call volume is reaching nearly 300 per year, so upgrading the truck became a priority.
The volunteer firefighters must go through complete NFPA 1001-2 training, and it’s not easy to get hired, even with no compensation being involved. With the process of being part of the team so extensive, it was important to have top-quality equipment for the volunteers to use.
“Even though it’s volunteer, the dedication is extremely high for our members,” Wenstrom said. “As a result, we’re very selective. It’s a hard job and it’s time consuming. It takes you away from your family and your work.
“We practice a lot and there’s so much to know with the equipment we go through for land fires and structure fires and hazmat calls and vehicle extrication calls. There is a lot to learn. We’re trained to the same level or better than any career firefighters in the system whether it’s Calgary, Edmonton or Chestermere. We train to the same level or sometimes higher.”