Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services officials welcomed Brush 33, a brand new type-three fire truck, to the fleet Dec. 3. The type-three truck, the first of its kind at Fort Riley, is being prepped for use and will be ready for action later this month.
With the structural expansion on post, Mark Neely, wildland program manager, FES, Directorate of Emergency Services, said he saw a need for the new truck.
“As Fort Riley continues to grow (and) take on different missions, we have to evolve with that,” Neely said.
The type three is designed for wildland urban interface, which means it can traverse rugged terrain and fight structural fires.
“Its primary purpose will be wildland fire management (covering everything) from prescribed burns to suppression,” Neely said.
With more than 20,000 acres of prescribed burns happening at Fort Riley each year, Neely said he anticipates that Brush 33 will get a lot of use.
In addition to its off-roading capabilities, the truck has an increased pump capability, which will allow firefighters to better adjust pressure points and flow. The new truck can run a main hose, called a trunk line, as well as secondary “attack” lines running off of the trunk. A new pump panel will allow firefighters to adjust pressure for multiple hose lays, as well as accommodate uphill and downhill lays.
Additionally, the new truck features a wireless communication system to enable better communication between firefighters, while providing improved ear protection.
“It’s a very well built truck that should really meet our needs,” Neely said.
North of Station One, where Brush 33 will reside, the terrain turns to open prairie used for training and recreation.
“This truck will be able to run more calls up that way,” Neely said, listing off its advantages. “(It) can go on all the gravel roads. It’s got a higher clearance. It’s four-wheel drive.
The compartment space allows for a more diverse set of tools, (including) not just wildland tools, but also medical tools and tools (for) traffic accidents.”
However when it arrived, the truck was “bare bones,” Neely said.
Since then, crews have been customizing the truck, fitting it with hoses, nozzles, tools and radios to meet their particular needs. This process takes anywhere from five days to two weeks.
“They’ve been working pretty diligently,” Neely said. “It’s got to be mounted in such a way for easy access (so that) what they use most frequently is most accessible.”
Crews also will need to train on the new vehicle.
“I believe (they) will be surprised (by) its capabilities,” Neely said. “There will be some (tactical) adjustments in the way we respond and deploy trucks based off of (Brush 33’s) capabilities.”
Once the truck is outfitted properly, the final step is to put its identifier – Brush 33 – on it.
Truck identifiers follow a two-digit numbering system. The first digit indicates the type of truck it is, and the second digit indicates which truck in the fleet it is. When Brush 33 gets sent on a call, emergency services providers will know that a type-three truck is on its way, and it’s the third type three in that fleet.
The two other trucks with the type-three identifier are actually refurbished five-ton military vehicles that are older trucks with fewer capabilities.
With the current drought conditions and prescribed burning due to start up again in February, Brush 33 is a welcome addition.
“We have our highest fire danger (now) because all of our grass has gone dormant, so it’s all available to burn. All the leaves that are on the ground (are) dry and crisp. Soil moisture is extremely low. Things are ready to burn,” Neely said.
Neely works closely with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, as well as the Directorate of Public Works to keep Soldiers and recreationists informed about fire hazard warnings through the AtHoc and iSportsman systems respectively.
By Julie Fiedler
1st Inf. Div. Post
Shawn Sullivan | FES
Brush 33, a brand new type three fire truck, is the first wildland urban interface vehicle in the Fort Riley fleet. The truck arrived Dec. 3 at FES headquarters in Fort Riley.