New bells, whistle, siren, LED

BIG ENGINE  With a growing population to serve GIlroy’s fire department spent $774,000 on a new fire engine that should last 20 years. It was showed off at last week’s city council meeting and pictured with it are council member Fred Tovar, Fire Chief Ala

The Gilroy Fire Department has a new flagship to lead its armada of fire fighting equipment. On Monday, before the Gilroy City Council meeting, Gilroy firefighters displayed their new Pierce Quantum fire engine. With a price tag of more than $665,000, the engine is expected to serve the city for at least 20 years.
“This is the first new fire engine we’ve had in this city in the last 12 years,” Fire Chief Alan Anderson said. “We put a committee together to research what the best in the industry was and this is what they come up with.”
With a six cylinder Detroit Diesel motor, the capacity to hold 700 gallons of water and seat six firefighters, pneumatic steps, state-of-the-art displays and indicators, it might be hard to choose the coolest thing on the fire engine.
“The LED lights for sure,” Anderson said. “We can turn a neighborhood into daytime with the flick of a switch.”
The Pierce Quantum fire engine has hoses, pumps and water, used to apply the muscle needed to combat fires. Fire trucks, as opposed to fire engines, carry the long extendable hydraulic ladders with other special equipment for forcible entry, ventilation and search and rescue.  Besides axes and saws, the engine is equipped with a 24-foot extension ladder and a 12-foot roof ladder, along with a pump pressure fan used by creating positive pressure ventilation, which uses air pressure to push smoke out of a house.
“We don’t take these purchases lightly,” Anderson said. “It’s an important purchase for the community and we want to make sure we get 20 years of use on it. We need it to be reliable and safe for our firefighters to work on.”
In February 2016 the city council approved a motion to enter into agreement with Pierce Manufacturing to build the fire engine with a price, including all the equipment, not to exceed $774,193.
“It’s user-friendly for the firefighters, it’s easy to operate, and the maintenance is easy for our mechanics,” Anderson said. “It’s a good platform for us to deliver our community service.”
The fire engine also boasts a variety of safety devices and by being governed at a top speed of 70 miles an hour, the machine is built with firefighter safety in mind.
“This is the first engine that we have that has air bags,” said Fire Captain Randy Wong. “It has full rollover and steering wheel airbags and a knee curtain that would come out if the collision happened on the captain’s side. The advances in technology and the safety features put into this engine is a lot better than what we have now.”
While the engine has years of work ahead of it, there’s some eagerness to get it in use. The fire engine is, pretty cool.
“It’s a blast,” Wong said of driving the fire engine. “It’s like driving a car, just a lot taller.”