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Buckley firefighters receive new generation of firefighting equipment

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Buckley Fire Department tests their new vehicles June 29, 2012. The new P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicles will save the Air Force on average 28 percent when it comes time for stations to update their inventory. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Buckley Fire Department tests their new vehicles June 29, 2012. The new P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicles will save the Air Force on average 28 percent when it comes time for stations to update their inventory. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Buckley Fire Department tests their new vehicle June 29, 2012. The new P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicles uses high pressure technology to suffocate the fire with less water. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Buckley Fire Department tests their new vehicle June 29, 2012. The new P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicles uses high pressure technology to suffocate the fire with less water. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcy Glass)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Buckley Fire Department recently received two P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicles, the newest in firefighter vehicle technology.

These vehicles will save the Air Force an average of 28 percent when it comes time for fire stations to update their inventory. The older P-19 models cost about $564,000 compared to the new P-34 models at $160,000.

According to Lt. William La Rosa, Buckley Fire Department firefighter, perhaps the most unique aspect of this new technology is that firefighters will be fighting the same fires with less water. They won't be dumping as much water onto fires than they normally would, instead the RIV was designed to shoot with much higher pounds per square inch, using less water and being just as effective.

"For us it's new. We're use to gallons per minute instead of pounds per square inch," La Rosa said.

The idea behind the ultra high pressure technology is to suffocate the fire by not allowing any oxygen to reach the fire and have the majority of the water that's being sprayed more effectively.

With the old method of dumping gallons upon gallons of water onto the fire, reports were showing that 90 percent of the water being dispersed wasn't even making it to the fire, explained to La Rosa.

Older models could hold more than 1,000 gallons of water with a 500 GPM flow, 100 PSI rate and have about a two minute working rate. This means, if they were to spray water continuously at full blast, it would only last a matter of about 2 minutes.

The RIVs hold about 500 gallons of water shooting out at 1,350 PSI with 15 GPM on the hand lines and 60 GPM on the ultra high pressure turret, which is controlled by a joystick operated by the driver. This means they won't be using nearly as much water, and the driver will be able to easily control the turret on the front of the truck simply by flipping a few switches.

With the new technology firefighters will be able to fight fires almost three times longer without needing resupplied.

"I like the vehicle, it's small, it's maneuverable and it's got two engines. One for the pump and one for the vehicle," La Rosa said. "It's doing same the same kind of damage to the fire, but with less water."

La Rosa also continued to say the two engines are another key advancement. Typically when responding to a fire, the truck would almost have to come to a complete stop before firefighters could fire up the pump engine. Now crews can be en route and switch the pump on and be prepared to fight fire the moment they arrive on scene.

Before any fires can be fought with this new technology, training is a must. Which is what many of the Buckley firefighters are doing, ensuring they know the ins and outs of the RIVs.

"I've been in class for quite a few days now and I've been pretty impressed with it so far," said Jason Debord, Buckley Fire Department firefighter.
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