Trucks
I’m an 18-year veteran and fire chief of a small fire department in the West Kootenays of British Columbia. We average around 100 calls a year and work on a small budget.

Throughout my years as a member of this hall and now as fire chief, I learned how to overcome some of the hardships and struggles that a small-budget firehall goes through.

We all want to provide the best coverage and response to our community. This does not change, no matter the size of your hall.

We recently realized that an area that needed improvement was how we respond to medical incidents.

We started with using one of our engines.

This worked, but proved difficult in winter conditions and due to the amount of long, narrow driveways we faced.

So, we purchased a second hand 1984 GMC 4x4 to make it easier to respond.

We soon realized that this was the way to go. The 1984 proved to be a great truck, as long as you let it warm up and had an idea of how a carburetor works. With the changing demographic in membership, this proved to be a struggle.

We finally saved enough money to replace the truck. With a budget of $50,000, I started to hunt.

It wasn’t long before I realized that this amount of money was not going to get us far, so I started to look at other options. Soon, I came up with the idea of building our own vehicle.

I found a truck at a repossession lot. It was a 2014 Ford F350 with a contractor’s-style canopy. Perfect!

We bought the truck and drove it eight hours home from Vancouver. Then we went to work.

We installed a centre console to house the radio, siren, and other hard-mounted items.

We bought a light bar and other emergency lights off Internet providers.

We removed some of the old hardware from our existing truck and had a local decal company do the graphics.

At the end of the project, we ended up with a nearly new, much safer rescue truck for less than half our original budget.

Since then, we’ve had truck manufacturers look at this rig and ask who built it. It looks that good.

We were able to do this as a result of something I learned a long time ago, and that was to use your resources.

One of my captains is a 12-volt technician, another a mechanic, and still another is a welder-fabricator. I gave these members free reign of the work on the truck and soon we had a fully functional rescue truck.

I learned to let members use their natural ability, and instead of holding them back with rules and regulations, enable them with support and give them the tools they need to do the job.

We weren’t done yet.

We had this 1984 GMC that we knew we were going to get nothing for if we tried to sell it. So, we came up with the idea to transform it into a wildland truck.

So again, I started looking around and found a used skid unit in Kansas. Through grant money I sourced out, we were able to purchase and have the unit shipped to Canada.

When the unit arrived, it was in a state of disrepair. My members stepped up and took over. The skid unit was fully disassembled and rebuilt. The pump engine and everything was gone through or rebuilt.

This again proved to me that using your resources and the natural ability or skills of your members pays huge dividends. Soon, we had a fully functional wildland truck for a fraction of the price of new equipment.

So, not only were we able to build a fully functional rescue truck, we also built a fully functional wildland truck – both in a year and for under $25,000.

This is something we are very proud of.

Not only is there a level of pride involved with responding with something you built, but we know exactly how it was put together.

Using the natural ability of your members can be a huge benefit to a small volunteer hall.

As almost everyone knows, there is not enough time in the day to tackle all we want to as a volunteer hall. With families and full-time jobs to hold down this is proving to be more of a struggle as the years go on.

I feel very fortunate to have accomplished what we have and look forward to the next challenge.


Jeff Grant is fire chief of the Robson Volunteer Fire Department in Robson, B.C. Contact Jeff at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Published in Department news
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Published in Inside the hall
The fire service in Parkland County, Alta., took delivery of a new pumper rescue under Chief Brian Cornforth. The black and red truck is built on a Spartan Gladiator chassis and has an emergency rescue body. It runs on a 450-hp Cummins L9 engine and an Allison 3000 EVS transmission. The rig has a Waterous CSU 1500 pump with side-control pump panels. It comes complete with a 1000 imperial gallon Poly tank and a Waterous Eclipse compressed air system with Advantus 6 foam. 
Published in Equipment
The Yukon Government and fire marshal’s office received a Fort Garry-built wildland range truck under Fire Marshal Kevin Taylor in 2016. The truck is built on an International 7400 2-door cab 4x4 with a formed aluminum body. The truck runs on a 330-hp Navistar N9 engine and an Allison 3000 EVS transmission. The red and white truck has top-mount pump panels that power a Darley LSPAH 1000 pump. It is finished with a hot-dipped galvanized 1000 imperial gallon tank. 

Published in Equipment
The Government of Nunavut took delivery of a pumper truck from Fort Garry Fire Trucks under Fire Marshal Robert Prima. The red rig is built on a 2018 Freightliner M2-106 chassis and has a MXV 3-Man Crown body type. The pumper runs on a 300-hp Cummins L9 engine, Allison EVS 3000 transmission, has enclosed pump panels, a Hale DSD 1050 IGPM pump and a 1000 imperial gallon CoPoly tank. Special features include an extreme insulation package, diesel-fired coolant heater, SCBA rack, Honda 5K Generator and a Whelen emergency light package. 

Published in Equipment
Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service in Ontario received a Smeal 32-metre rear mount aerial truck from Safetek. The truck is built on a Spartan Gladiator chassis with an aluminum body. It is powered by a Cummins ISX 500-hp engine and has an Allison EVS 4000-R transmission. There is a Waterous CSUC 7, 000 litre per minute pump and the truck hold 400 imperial gallons of water. Special features include an Akron StreamMaster II 3480 Monitor and Akron SaberMaster 1577 nozzle, EHL Hose Bed and a Smeal SG-09 Green Power auxiliary power unit.

Published in Equipment
The fire department in Amherst, N.S., took delivery of a Metalfab pumper under Fire Chief Greg Jones. The pumper is built on a Spartan Metro Star X chassis with an extruded aluminum body style. It runs on a 400-hp Cummins L9 and Allison 3000 EVS auto transmission. The rig has a 1250 imperial gallon Hale QMAX pump and a tank capacity of 600 imperial gallons. It comes complete with Foam Pro 2001 Dual Tank System. Special features include a Whelen LED warning light system, 6000-Watt hydraulic generator, FRC Spectra 12V LED telescopic flood lights and Amdor roll-up doors. 

Published in Equipment
The Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in Valleyview, Alta., received a new pumper truck from Fort Garry Fire Trucks in November. The pumper is built on a Freightliner chassis with a Terminator body type. It is designed with a Darley PTO PSR1250 pump and a 1000 imperial gallon Pro-Poly tank. Special features include a Kussmaul Pump Plus 1000, Tornado quick-disconnect monitor, Hannay hose reel, Federal Signal lighting package and FRC scene lights.
Published in Equipment
Fire-service leaders today do a good job convincing council of the importance of upgrading the apparatus fleet. Municipality underwriter’s insurance companies are helping to lead the way. They are steering department recommendations towards becoming essential repairs and replacements in the eyes of council.
Published in Equipment
Department needs across Canada can be as diverse as the country itself. As the nature of the service continues to change, and fire crews respond to more medical and rescue calls, municipalities are adding features to their apparatus that address community-specific needs.
Published in Equipment
All emergency services need some kind of vehicle to get the job done. But the job cannot be done if your vehicle doesn’t work when you need it. Proper vehicle maintenance is essential to ensure first responders can safely and efficiently get to calls.
Published in Equipment
The Saskatoon Fire Department received a custom pumper from Fort Garry Fire Trucks in May. The red and white truck is constructed on a Spartan Metro Star chassis with a 400-hp Cummins ISL9 engine and an Allison EVS 3000 transmission. The vehicle has an emergency rescue body with a TME electronic pump panel. It was a 1500 imperial gallon Waterous CSU pump and a 600 imperial gallon WP Co-poly tank. It comes complete with a Class A Foam Pro 2002 foam system. 

Published in Equipment
The Nakusp Volunteer Fire Department in the BC Interior added a Fort Garry-built pumper tanker to its fleet on June 10. The red vehicle is built on a Freightliner M2 106 4x4 chassis. A 350-hp engine keeps the truck running, while an Allison 3000 EVS transmission allows for simple gear shifting. It has a Crusader body with side-control pump panels. It gets the job done with a Hale PTO MBP 1000 pump made of 5052 marine-grade aluminum and a 1700 imperial gallon Pro-Poly tank.
Published in Equipment
Comox Fire Rescue on Vancouver Island received a black and white pumper from Fort Garry Fire Trucks on June 11. The truck is constructed on a Freightliner M2 106 chassis and has an emergency rescue body. It runs on a 350-hp Cummins L9 engine and an Allison 3000 EVS transmission. The 2000 imperial gallon Hale QMAX pump, which is made of 5083 saltwater marine-grade aluminum, is controlled by side-control panels. The truck comes complete with Foam Pro 2001 foam. 

Published in Equipment
The St. Catharines Fire Department in southern Ontario recently purchased a new pumper from Fort Garry Fire Trucks, which was delivered in October of last year. It has a Spartan Metro Star MFD 10” RR chassis and an emergency rescue pumper body. A powerful 400-hp Cummins ISL9 engine keeps the red and white truck running, while an Allison EVS 3000 transmission allows firefighters to shift gears. The pumper has side-control aluminum panels and a 1050 imperial gallon Waterous CS pump. The truck uses a Poly 600 imperial gallon tank and Foam Pro 2001 foam.  

Published in Equipment
The fire department in the City of Summerside, P.E.I., welcomed a new Fort Garry pumper to its fleet on October 31, 2016. The truck is built on a Spartan Metro X MFD 10 RR chassis and has a Crusader Pumper body. It runs on a 380-hp Cummins ISL9 engine with an Allison EVS 3000 transmission. Side control pump panels power a 1250 US gallon Hale QFlo pump with a 960 US gallon tank made of Poly 800 IG. The red truck is made of 5052 Aluminum and is outfitted with Foam Pro 1600 foam. 

Published in Equipment
The Conne River Fire Department in southern Newfoundland received a delivery of a new Fort Garry- built pumper on May 28. The red vehicle is constructed on an International 7400 chassis with a Cummins ISL 9 300-hp engine and Allison 3000 EVS transmission. It has side-control MXV pump panels, which control a 1000 imperial gallon Darley PSP1250 pump made of Pro-Poly. The truck is made of 5083 saltwater marine-grade aluminum and comes complete with Foam Pro 1600 foam. 

Published in Equipment
The Opaskwayak Cree Nation volunteer fire department in western Manitoba welcomes a new pumper tanker to its fleet in late March. The red and white truck from Fort Garry Fire Trucks was built on a Freightliner 108SD two-door chassis and has a four-man crown full-framed fire tanker body. It is powered by a 380-hp Cummins ISL engine and Allison 3000 EVS transmission. The 2500 imperial gallon Co-Poly Darley LDM 1250 pump has an enclosed top control panel. The truck has a Foam Pro 2001 A&B System with two 25 imperial gallon foam cells. There a number of custom elements to make the truck unique, including an electric fold-down ladder rack, four heaters, a heat pan, air conditioning in the crew area, four SCBA seats in the crew enclosure, low speedlay discharges, an electric rewind hose reel, and a Deckmaster electric monitor located above the Pumphouse. 

Published in Equipment
The Miminegash Fire Department on Prince Edward Island added a Fort Garry-built fire pumper to its fleet in July. The red truck was built on a full frame International 7400 chassis and is made of 5083 saltwater marine-grade aluminum. It features a 300-hp Cummins ISL9 engine and Allison EVS 3000 transmission. The pumper has cross-control panels that employ a Pro-Poly 1500 imperial gallon Hale DSD 1250 pump. It comes complete with Foam Pro 1600 foam. 

Published in Equipment
The Beaumont Fire Department in the Edmonton Capital Region was delivered a new Spartan Metro-Star pumper on May 3. The white truck, built by Fort Garry Fire Trucks, has an emergency rescue body type with a 380-hp Cummins ISL9 engine and Allison EVS 3000 transmission. It is constructed of 5083 saltwater marine-grade aluminum. It has side control panels, a 600 imperial gallon Hale DSD 1250 pump made of Pro-Poly. It has custom features added, which include a power ladder rack, power hosebed covers and a Setcom six-person headset system.

Published in Equipment
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