Following a year of harrowing wildfires, the Lodi Fire Department is exploring the opportunity to diversify its apparatus fleet.
The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services has offered specialized rescue equipment to local fire departments to augment local response in support of fighting wildfires around the state.
Lodi Fire Chief Gene Stoddart addressed the Lodi City Council at a Tuesday Shirtsleeve meeting where he provided a presentation that detailed the aspects of the Mutual Aid Program that would allow Lodi Fire to exchange one of its Type 1 engines with Cal OES.
“All of our engines are Type 1 engines and are over 10 years old. This program allows us to acquire new engines and increase our resources,” Stoddart said.
The state is not requesting any compensation or funding for new engines. The only requirement of this program is that the department that receives new engines send the apparatus and crew — up to four people — to help fight fires.
The decision to disseminate new engines comes after a devastating fire season in Northern California.
The Mendocino, Carr and Camp fires burned through approximately 842,110 acres of land, destroyed 20,000 structures and killed at least 93 people.
“We have the opportunity to create a mutually beneficial relationship with the state,” Stoddart said.
The Lodi Fire Department has five engines, which are all Type 1 engines.
A Type 1 engine is typically used in response to structural fires, and the apparatus is designed to fight fires in densely populated regions, according to Stoddart.
The Type 1 engine can hold up to 800 gallons of water and is manned by a crew of four people. Due to the size of a Type 1 engine they can only travel by street, which is why the fleet is nicknamed the “Road Queen.”
Since the engine is limited to street use, it cannot be taken off the road to fight wildfires. If the Lodi Fire Department is selected by Cal OES, they will receive a Type 3 engine or a Type 6 engine. Both are more compact then the Type 1 engine and can be driven off-road so that they can reach wildlands.
A Type 3 engine has four-wheel drive to make driving over rough terrain easier, and it allows smoother transport, and access for firefighters battling wildfires. The Type 3 engine can hold 500 gallons of water and pump 125 gallons per minute at a pressure of 250 pounds per square inch.
The second option would be that the Lodi Fire Department receives a Type 6 engine, which has a much smaller apparatus configuration. The smaller body still allows the department to carry 50 to 400 gallons of water with the maneuverability and accessibility due to its more compact shape and size.
Due to the smaller size of the Type 3 engines, it can hold a crew of three people and the Type 6 engine is designed to hold a crew of two people. Both are able to drive through tenuous terrain so that firefighters can fight wildfires.
“Either of these options would be a great addition that can allow us the ability to reach wildlands near the lake or other similar properties,” Stoddart said.
Although Lodi Fire has applied to receive an engine there is not a guarantee that they will receive an apparatus.
“There are other departments in the northern county that are looking to take advantage of this program, like Woodbridge, Stockton, Lathrop and Tracy. It comes down to what logistically makes sense for Cal OES to send down here,” Stoddart said.
The Lodi City Council expressed their approval at the prospect of Lodi Fire utilizing this program to support the state and the Cal OES program.