LIMERICK’s city’s chief fire officer Michael Ryan says the delivery of two new state-of-the-art fire appliances is a major boost for the Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service.
The new appliances, which were funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government are among the best equipped in the country.
Each of the fire engines, which were supplied by McCarthy Commercials, Watergrasshill, are capable of delivering 4,000 litres of water per minute and carry a variety of equipment, including four different types of fire ladders, fire fighting hoses, foam, fire extinguishers, breathing apparatus and hydraulic equipment for dealing with road accidents.
The windscreens on the vehicles are also toughened to prevent damage or injury in the event of them coming under attack - as happened last month in the Southill area of the city.
“It is very important to have appropriate, modern equipment and vehicles. They are central to the capacity of the organisation to deliver its service effectively and efficiently,” said Josephine Cotter-Coughlan, director of Services with responsibility for emergency services at the Limerick Local Authorities.
Fireman, Brian Slattery, who retired in 2003 says the new appliances are a big improvement on what existed during his 30-year career with the fire service.
“You didn’t have modern search lights, we didn’t even have communications. In our time, we saw the gradual introduction of communications within the fire engine itself where you speak back to someone here at the fire station, now we have a modern communications building that communicates all over Munster,” he said.
Derek Flood, who retired in 2010, said when he began working as a fireman in the early 1970s, he worked on an open-top fire engine, which had to be hand started.
“We used to work on that from time to time when we needed a back-up but it has evolved down through the years in a great way between equipment and uniforms and procedures and everything safety wise for firemen,” he said.