BEND, OR -- The Bend Fire Department is finally ready to put six new fire trucks into service, months after the new rigs arrived in town. Deputy Chief of Operations Bob Madden says they’ve been training on the new engines for the past couple of months. "What we’re dealing with, primarily, is the newer technology in the fire truck. These have a computer screen, basically, that work all the systems; the lighting systems are all LED lights so their more efficient, so we don’t burn out alternators like we did on our old fire trucks; the cab is safer, it has airbags so it’s safer for the crews." They also feature a fancy new two-tone paint job.
He admits that training period lasted longer than originally expected. "Like any new program, we’ve had some issues and some things that had to be corrected by the manufacturer. That, and the ongoing training – ya know, it takes a while. We’re getting all of our people to drive them, to pass a driving test on them; and then to get oriented with how the pump works and all of the equipment on these fire trucks. It’s taken a while. You’ve seen them driving around town for the last month to month and a half, but now they’re physically going into service."
Madden tells KBND News they’ll gradually be rolled out to area fire stations over the next two to three weeks. "We’re finishing up our in-service training, so we’re training all of our crews in pump operation and driving. And, that’s ongoing. As we get enough depth of people trained on them, we’ll start putting the rigs into service. We’re hoping we can have our first one in service by the first of next week."
The six new trucks replace the department’s current fleet of front-line structure response engines.