By Tracy Correa
Fire personnel at Diablo Canyon Power Plant welcomed a new arrival last month – a shiny, red, state-of-the-art fire engine.
The new engine actually arrived in October but wasn’t ready for service until November, after final touches were applied and personnel were fully trained on the new equipment. It becomes the second on-site fire engine exclusive to the power plant in San Luis Obispo County.
No one was happier to see the new engine than Fire Capt. David Schroeder, who said there is a greater level of comfort in having a second engine ready in case of an emergency. He said it alleviates concern over the potential for mechanical failure with just one fire engine.
“Having the right equipment sets us up for success, and having two is even better,” he said.
The new engine is not drastically different than the engine that has been in service for years at the plant. “It’s ultimately the exact same engine, just a little bit better,” said Schroeder. That means improved features and upgrades, he said.
The differences between the two engines are subtle. However, the new engine is taller – the cab by about 8 inches. There are also slight differences to the control configuration.
Operationally, the new engine has an improved piping system that allows it to flow a full 2,000 gallons per minute versus 1,500 gallons per minute on the older engine.
The new engine also has some important safety features including backup camera with audio, door and compartment locks, visual/audio seat-belt alarms and National Fire Protection Association-compliant equipment that secures thermal imagers and helmets.
The engine seats seven people inside the cab (six firefighters and one security officer) and has a remote-controlled deluge monitor on top of the engine capable of releasing 2,000 gallons per minute of a water/foam combination. It also carries 1,000 feet of 5-inch supply hose, 1,000 feet of 3-inch hose and 900 feet of 1-3/4-inch attack hose with nozzles.
Continuous investments such as the new fire engine at Diablo Canyon Power Plant improve emergency response readiness and ensure personnel are prepared to deal with any unforeseen circumstances with the best equipment available.