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Monday, November 12, 2007

Patterson Fire Department — New 3,000-gallon water tender.

Patterson’s growing fire department got its most recent addition two weeks ago — a 3,000-gallon water tender.

Source - Written by: John Saiz / Patterson Irrigator / Wednesday, 07 November 2007

Elias Funez / Patterson Irrigator
The modified 2007 International will serve as a portable water source for firefighters who need to hose down flames that are not close to a water system. The $230,000 vehicle is getting the last of its equipment installed this week. After that, it will be ready to roll.

Though the new tender is easier to maneuver, the older tender beats it in water capacity.

“We’re losing about 1,200 gallons,” said Division Chief Jeff Gregory of the Patterson Fire Department. “But we’ll be able to get there a lot quicker.”

Water tenders typically carry large amounts of water to fires in rural areas, Gregory explained. Given the vast amount of agricultural land surrounding Patterson, the new tender is likely to see a lot of action.

Gregory estimates the older tender will still be sent out at least once a week, too.

The new vehicle is more versatile and easier to handle and requires less maintenance than the old one, Gregory said. It also can be driven by anyone with a special class-B driver’s license, which certifies firefighters to drive equipment such as fire trucks. The old truck required a class-A license.

“Some of the guys can drive the (older tender) like a little Volkswagen,” Gregory said. “Other guys aren’t that good.”

He remembered one incident when the old tender needed to be backed up about 300 yards. He decided to wait until the road was a little clearer, but a firefighter from Turlock volunteered to move it right away. He got behind the wheel and backed the truck up in a zigzag.

“‘Man, I should have waited,’” Gregory recalled the firefighter saying.

Maneuverability aside, many who used the old tender appreciate its large water capacity.

Gregory recalled other firefighters commenting that they were always happy to see the old yellow tender arrive on scene, because it meant there would be enough water.

With the Patterson station welcoming the new tender, the older one will move to the Diablo Grande Fire Station.

The West Stanislaus Fire Protection District got the old tender in the early ’70s, said Dick Gaiser, who’s been with the district since 1978. The trailer portion of it is a large aluminum container that at one time was used to haul vegetable oil.

Volunteers managed to raise the money to buy that vehicle.

Volunteers also helped raise money for the new tender — about $30,000 — with the district covering the remainder.

The tender is just the most recent addition to Patterson-area fire protection. The paid firefighters have seen their ranks swell the past two years, and much of the department will move once Station Two in west Patterson’s Keystone Pacific Business Park is finished in the next few weeks.

CA-RRU-Water Tender Accident - BLUE SHEET

CA-RRU-Water Tender Accident


Vehicle Accident Riverside County Water Tender 39
October 24, 2007

This Preliminary Summary Report is intended as an aid in accident prevention, and to provide factual information from the first 24 hours of the accident review. To that end it is published and distributed within a short time frame. Information contained within may be subject to revision as further investigation is conducted, and other reports and documents are received.


The following information is a preliminary summary of a traffic accident in which two firefighters sustained minor injuries and a civilian received moderate injuries.


On October 24, 2007, at approximately 1354 hours, Water Tender 39 was traveling westbound on Avenue 50 in the community of Coachella operated by a Fire Apparatus Engineer and with a Fire Captain as the passenger. A newer model full size Dodge pick up truck traveling eastbound on Avenue 50 drifted over the double yellow line and impacted head on with the Water Tender despite aggressive emergency evasive actions by the Water Tender operator. Immediately after the collision, both occupants of the Water Tender unbuckled their seatbelts and exited their vehicle to attend to the medical need of the pick up driver and initiate a response for a traffic collision through the Perris ECC. The driver of the pick up was transported by ground ambulance to a local Trauma Center for further medical treatment. Both of the Department employees were also transported by ground ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation, treated and released.

Recommendations for Immediate Corrective Actions

.. Always wear your seat belts per department policy
.. Maintain situational awareness at all times while driving
.. Be alert and prepared for the unexpected

messages with the blue sheet:

Please give the attached Blue Sheet referencing the Riverside County WT39
accident wide distribution for the purposes of discussion and Tailgate
Safety session.
See attached Blue Sheet.
Driving continues to be one of our most hazardous activities.
Please have your firefighters discuss this accident in 6 minutes for safety
and tailgate sessions.
Defensive driving pays off.