FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Just before 11:00 this morning, the North Peace Regional Airport took delivery of the first of two brand-new aircraft rescue and firefighting engines.
The new Oshkosh Striker 1500 4X4 ARFF trucks were built just south of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and are truly massive machines, measuring over 11 feet wide, 13.3 feet tall, and 36 feet long, tipping the scales at over 63,000 lbs. The trucks can carry 1500 gallons of water, as well as over 700 litres of foam, and Purple K dry chemical powder. Both trucks are equipped with thermal cameras mounted on the roof turret, a 1500-watt generator, and are designed to be able to fight fires with only one on-board operator. The trucks were also custom-fit with adapters that allow them to be compatible with the City of Fort St. John and District of Taylor’s water supplies.
The airport’s Managing Director Mike Whalley says that the airport purchased the two trucks after surpassing the threshold of over 180,000 passengers movements, meaning that the airport could no longer rely on local municipal firefighting services. The milestone was first reached in May 2014, at which point the airport notified Transport Canada that they had become a Class 6 airport requiring self-supplied fire suppression capabilities. The airport has been leasing a pair of fire engines for the past year in order to fill their firefighting requirements.
The first of the two new fire engines has already arrived, with the second truck due to arrive on Saturday morning at 9:00 AM. Airport Operations Manager Tim Greening says that the trucks need to under various fitting-out, as well as passing MoT inspections and insurance before entering use, which the airport is hoping can happen by August 1st.
In addition to the new fire trucks, the North Peace Airport will also be getting an upgrade to their wildlife management. Daisy is a 17 week-old Yellow Labrador that has begun training as a bird control specialist. Whalley says that the airport has decided to use Daisy to supplement the existing noise makers and firearms that the airport currently uses for bird control, saying that wildlife often learn to ignore these methods. Daisy will be taking to the fields around the airport in time for the fall migration.
The airport will be hosting an open house at an as-yet undetermined date in September, where they will be showcasing their new fire trucks, as well as Daisy.