Chesterfield Fire & EMS has a new secret weapon for battling fires by waterway a state of the art fire boat, a 2020 SAFE 31Special Purpose EMT.
The emergency response vessel has an enclosed, all-weather cabin to allow the vessel to respond in all types of weather and water conditions to individuals or vessels in distress. It is equipped with a 600 gallons-per-minute fire pump, radar, thermal imaging camera, sonar, and EMS/rescue equipment, said Lt. Jason Elmore of Chesterfield Fire & EMS.
The emergency response vessel was purchased through the Port Security Grant Program with support from The Port of Virginia and the US Coast Guard. The total grant award was $495,000. The PSGP funded 75 percent of the purchase and the Board of Supervisors approved the required 25 percent match as per the requirements of the grant offering to be funded by the county.
The boat was delivered Feb. 26. It will tentatively be placed into service this summer. During the time prior to going into service extensive operator training will occur to ensure the safe operation of the vessel, Elmore said.
The boat will be housed in and will respond from Rivers Bend-Fire & EMS Station 18. Options for a permanent facility near or on the James or Appomattox river are currently being evaluated.
“The vessel will be staffed and operated with the trained boat operations personnel at Station 18,” Elmore said.