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Calif. firefighters receive new utility trailer

By Paula M. Felipe
Oroville Mercury Register
Copyright 2007 Oroville Mercury Register
All Rights Reserved

OROVILLE, Calif. — A new utility trailer was delivered to the El Medio Fire Department, Monday.

The $68,000 trailer was funded in part by a Homeland Security Grant and El Medio Fire contributed $3,236 to the cost.

“This will be great for the firefighters,” said El Medio Fire’s Chief Rusty Ohlhausen. “They will be able to refill their air bottles and have a rehab unit for times when they are hot or cold.”

Captain Mike McCarty of El Medio Fire wrote the grant for the fire department.

“I’m very happy it’s here,” McCarty said. “And, I’m always glad to see El Medio growing and striving to live up to its potential and good things are finally coming our way.”

The special trailer was designed for the El Medio firefighters. It is painted bright red and has “El Medio Fire Support 3" on both sides. The trailer has large external lights (900 watts each) and an internal lighting system, electric outlets, and a generator.

“It will light up the fire scene at night,” Ohlhausen said. McCarty agreed, “Yes, it will enhance visibility and expose tripping hazards and help firefighters see at night when conducting roof ventilations and help them better see other hazards like powerlines downs. Greater visibility for firefighters can help reduce injuries and that is always a good thing,” McCarty said.

The trailer also has a pump, manifold, and storage area for re-filling the self-contained breathing apparatuses that firefighters wear in order to have access to air while fighting fires.

“We can fill two bottles at a time now,” McCarty said. “The rehab feature also helps firefighters with fatigue and gives them a place to rest. In the heat of the summer, the trailer provides shade and will have an enclosed tent with misting fans to cool firefighters down. It gets very hot working in the summer and firefighters will be able to rotate fighting the fire and find rest and rehab with this utility trailer. And, in the winter time, when it’s freezing cold outside, it will provide a place to get out of the cold and get warm and dry,” he said.

The utility trailer, a Foster Hurricane design, also has control panels and generator that can provide back-up power to the fire station is the event of an outage.

“We will also have this trailer available to other fire agencies as part of the automatic and mutual aid agreement and it will be available upon request,” McCarty added.

Part of the trailer’s design included a towing package which enables El Medio Fire’s duty vehicle, which is a 2006 F-250 truck, to haul the trailer.