RFD’s Engine #2 rolls into service
The Richfield Fire Department is welcoming a new member to its ranks. No, it is not a new firefighter, it is a new fire engine, Engine #2, which will reside at Fire Station #2 and predominantly respond to service calls on Richfield’s west side.
The new engine, a 2019 Rosenbauer Commander, will allow the city’s firefighters to be more efficient on calls and work well with the department’s staffing levels.
“Purchasing a fire engine or not like buying a car. It takes a lot of time and planning to make sure exact equipment is added to the engine to meet the needs of the fire department,” said Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch. “Our engines are on a 16 year replacement schedule, so we know when it is time to start planning. We started researching what Engine #2 would look like back in 2017.”
The department’s truck committee, which is headed by Captain Dale Perrault, spoke with different fire departments throughout the region to see what the liked and disliked about their new trucks, researched the different makes and models and spoke with their fellow firefighters to learn what they should add or remove from the new truck to make calls more efficient.
The biggest changes to the engine were the addition of a different ladder rack, more storage without increasing the size of the truck and the inclusion of a pre-connected two and a half inch fire hose.
“The Richfield Fire Department has a mutual aid agreement with its neighboring cities when it comes to structure fires,” explained Captain Dale Perrault. “Adding the two and a half inch line, which was not on the previous truck, will allow for our firefighters to flow a lot more water on a fire before our mutual aid partners arrive, allowing us to put out fires quicker and more efficiently.”
The engine’s paint scheme was also upgraded from its predecessor.
Starting with the city’s Rescue #1 vehicle and continuing with the department’s Utility #1 vehicle, the RFD has departed from the traditional all-red paint scheme for a more modern color palate that features copious amounts of black.
Cost considerations were also taken into deliberations prior to ordering Engine #2.
“It is easy for fire departments to spend astronomical amounts of money on their equipment. Personally, I have heard of departments that have spent north of two million dollars on a fire engine that had more bells and whistles than you could imagine,” remarked Assistant Fire Chief Mike Dobesh. “As a department, we focus on functional efficiency that gets the job done, not flash.”
Prior to going into service, the department held a push-in ceremony for the new engine.
The fire service profession is steeped in tradition and push in ceremonies, which sees a department’s firefighters roll their newest piece of equipment into the fire bay prior to its first official call, is one of the oldest.
The city’s fire department will admit that it is a little late to the game when it comes to push in ceremonies, but it is something the city’s firefighters have taken to.
“This was only our third push in ceremony. We had previously held one for Rescue #1 and Engine #1 when they went into service,” said Dobesh. “Our firefighters have really taken to the new tradition. So much so, that a few firefighters that were not on shift came in on their day off to participate.”