Beasley Fire Chief Al Craft stands near the RDCK’s Structural Protection Unit.

Nelson region gets powerful wildfire tool

A powerful new firefighting tool was unveiled by the Regional District of Central Kootenay

A powerful new firefighting tool was unveiled by the Regional District of Central Kootenay, one that can protect structures throughout the region in the event of wildfire.

“The Structural Protection Unit (SPU) is a very cost effective means of providing protection to both homes and infrastructure, such as water systems, all throughout the RDCK,” said Terry Swan, regional fire chief. “Its portability allows us to take it into remote areas.”

The SPU can protect up to 35 structures depending on building proximity. It is equipped with 350 sprinkler heads, four pumps, two 3,000 gallon water tanks and numerous hoses. Five personnel are required to deploy the unit.

Currently, 60 RDCK firefighters are trained to use the SPU but another 20 to 40 personnel will be trained in spring 2014.

Chief Swan points out that the RDCK has three smaller SPU’s, housed at Canyon/Lister, Pass Creek and Kaslo. The new unit will be stored at the Beasley Fire Hall.

“All four of these units are committed to respond anywhere in the RDCK and provided there is low risk in our region, we can deploy this equipment to assist other jurisdictions upon Provincial request,” said Swan.

The $80,000 unit was jointly funded by grants from the Columbia Basin Trust, FortisBC, and RDCK Electoral Areas E and F. The remaining funds came from the RDCK’s general administration budget.