The Dexter Area Fire Department recently expanded its fleet of emergency response vehicles with the purchase of a new fire engine.
The engine costs roughly $350,000 and will be used as the primary response vehicle for Dexter Township, according to Capt. Don Dettling.
"We needed another engine as a direct result of expanding our coverage area," he said.
The department covers the village of Dexter, all of Webster Township, 95 percent of Dexter Township, and 20 percent of Lima Township. Prior to the purchase of the new truck, Dettling said firefighters were covering DAFD station 2 on North Territorial Road with its engine stationed in Webster Township.
The truck wiill be stationed in Dexter Township once firefighters complete training on it, Dettling said.
Assistant Fire Chief Robert Wagner said the new truck can carry up to 500 gallons of water, and is the second truck in the fleet equiped with a compressed air foam system.
Compressed foam has many advantages for departments in rural communities, Wagner said, especially when a water source is not easily accessible.
"By applying compressed air foam, the gallons of water required to extinguish a fire is reduced to as little as one-third compared with applying water alone," he said.
According to Dettling, one gallon of foam is equal to 10 gallons of water. Foam is also three to five times faster than with water alone for putting out fires in cars, houses, barns, and other open areas.
"The initial cost of adding the compressed foam system is outweighed by its advantages," Dettling said. "The foam system reduces our on-scene time, reduces the need for water, and saves the homeowner the cost of repairs due to water damage."
Dettling said the new engine will strictly be used as a substation vehicle, and will cover the department's main station in the village of Dexter if other vehicles are in use.
Lt. Michael Grissom said the camera protects both firefighters and homeowners by detecting heat signatures quicker, thus preventing significant structural damage during a fire. The camera displays different temperatures of heat onto a screen as an image.
Grissom said the latest camera model is lighter and designed similiar to a pair of binoculars with a video camera that allows firefighters to take photos and videos of a fire to include in reports.
"It's also a great tool to have if we're called to an accident at night and we have to locate the victim in an area with no lighting," he said.