The Columbus Fire Department has recently put into service a new fire apparatus that will improve operational readiness and response safety, but don’t go looking for a new fire engine just yet.
This new vehicle is of the smaller sort. The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado that was approved by City Council in the 2022-2023 fiscal budget will be used by Fire Chief Ryan Gray and other command-level officers from the department to provide incident command and control functions. Watch the video on the City's YouTube page to get a quick tour of the new vehicle from Chief Gray by clicking here.
“Incident command is just as important as putting the fire out and rescuing victims. The role of the incident commander is to maintain situational awareness and coordination of the entire emergency scene,” Gray said.
The incident commander (IC), is typically the fire chief or assistant fire chief in most large-scale incidents such as structure fires and vehicle accidents involving trapped persons. Occasionally, one of the three career fire captains will also serve in this critical role during times when the chief or assistant chief is unavailable.
Some of the tasks the IC is making strategic operational decisions, directing on-scene and responding crews, maintaining radio contact with emergency crews and dispatchers, crew and resource management, and ensuring all personnel remain accounted for and are operating as safely as possible on the incident scene.
“A lot of different things were considered when searching for a replacement of the old command vehicle, a 2017 Ford Explorer,” Gray said. “We needed something with a greater ground clearance for off-road emergencies, a greater towing capacity to be able to haul any of the department's many trailers, and enough space to safely carry firefighting and rescue equipment outside of the passenger compartment, and of course, availability.”
The 2017 Explorer that this vehicle replaces will be shuffled down to replace an older police cruiser, a Ford Explorer that was given to the fire department by the Columbus Police Department years ago. That vehicle has been passed on to the Building and Codes Department for its continued use.
The new command vehicle features a utility bed topper and black and gold leaf graphics, which will match the graphics of the new fire engine that is expected to be delivered later this year.
The new command vehicle allows for all of the equipment such as turnout gear, SCBA, fire extinguishers, medical gear and other tools and equipment to be carried outside of the passenger cab, in the covered truck bed, therefore reducing the danger of flying projectiles in the case of collision and greatly reducing the exposure to cancer-causing carcinogens from turnout gear.
Additionally, the new truck also features a slide-out cabinet and command board in the bed of the truck that is equipped with two mobile radios incident command boards and a mount for an iPad.
The cab of the truck features an iPad which is used for incident notifications, mapping, unit-to-unit messaging and other electronic resources that an IC may need. There are also two mobile radios, emergency warning device controls, and an inverter to power 120v items such as laptops during an emergency.
“This vehicle was designed to last a long time and is something for the City of Columbus to be proud of,” Gray said.
The fire chief expressed his appreciation for the continued support the fire department has received from the City administration and the Columbus City Council since he was named fire chief a little more than a year ago.
“Our citizens should find comfort in knowing that our City leaders realize the importance of public safety within the community and continue to choose to invest in the many projects to improve service delivery and safety,” Gray said.
(ABOUT THE PHOTO: Columbus Fire Chief Ryan Gray on May 30th shows off the new incident command vehicle parked outside City Hall downtown.)