Residents can expect quicker response times by the fire department in the areas of East End/Long Look and West End as the stations in these locations are set to re-open by late July.
Chief Fire Officer Zebalon McLean told BVI News on Wednesday that this is partly due to the department receiving five new trucks.
The Fire Chief said work on the now-closed stations is underway.
“We need to do a bit of work on the stations because we do not have power and we have some issues with windows and some of the plumbing and doors. But, we are working on that as quickly as we can because it has been an endless nightmare that those stations are still closed,” Chief McLean said.
He said the Rotary Club of Tortola has been assisting in the preparation of the East End/Long Look Fire Station while work is also being done to get West End’s station ready.
The West End station sustained damage during the 2017 hurricanes and has since been closed while the East End/ Long Look station has been closed for years because of the lack of equipment, among other things.
“Right now if there is a fire at East End or West End we have to leave from town to go there, and that can sometimes cost valuable minutes,” he said.
“If you have a house fire for example, and there is a section of the house that has a lot of combustible materials. From one minute to the other, that would be the difference between saving the house and losing the house. So the closer you are, the quicker you can get to put water to that fire, the greater the chances of being able to save whatever it is you are trying to save,” the Fire Chief explained.
The new fire trucks
The trucks which arrived in the territory on Monday are currently housed at the Government Administrative Complex in Road Town.
The vehicles, he said, will be distributed to Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, East End, West End and at the Road Town-based headquarters.
McLean said in a bid to cut costs, smaller versions of the F450 Ford vehicles were sought.
He explained that the ministry had promised the department three regular sized-trucks back in 2017. However, the hurricanes stalled those plans.
In 2018, the Dr D Orlando Smith government announced that the sum of $788,310 had been approved to purchase six fire trucks instead of the previous three.
Fast forward to 2019; these smaller trucks cost a combined total of $266,589.
“What it is basically, is a pickup truck where the pumping mechanism is not attached to the truck. It is built on its own platform and structure that is being placed inside the truck,” McLean said.
He said the pumping mechanism could be separated from the truck for maintenance.
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