Firefighters reach scenes faster and better prepared

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SANDRA M STANWAY
Brooks Bulletin

A diesel exhaust fuel (DEF) system is being blamed for a tractor fire north of Gem on Wednesday evening.
The system removes nitrogen oxides from engine exhaust.
The owner of the tractor left it running while he went in to the house for lunch but when he came out the tractor was smoking. The owner attempted to put the fire out but there were flammables attached to the tractor that ignited.
“He lost the tractor,” said County fire chief Stewart Luchies.
Although the tractor was lost reaching its location with clear communication and a clear map allowed the Gem department to arrive faster.
Luchies said the new Active911 system along with the new radio system is beneficial but it was during a Newell 911 meeting on Wednesday that it became apparent.
He said he received a text message from Gem’s fire chief stating the new 911 system worked, “One hundred per cent better than the CAMS system had in 10 years.”
Luchies added, “That was followed by ‘not even joking.’”
He said firefighters have the app on their phone and the system is being installed in the trucks.
“By the end of next week all of the old computers and CAM systems will be out of our trucks and the new iPads will be in.”
Over time the system will show all of the fire hydrants across the region as well as any oil batteries.
If there is a call to a battery the new system will allow firefighters to open the company’s shared emergency response plan.
“They know what their protocols are which helps keep our firefighters a whole lot safer,” he said.