November 30, 2018
Fire Apparatus Magazine

Fire Apparatus Magazine has an excellent overview by Alan M Petrillo of the various fireboats and rescue boats used by the NYFD in New York, the St. Louis (MO) Fire Department, the Port of Houston (TX) Fire Department, the Tampa (FL) Fire Department, and the Seattle (WA) Fire Department.

The article features several of our larger MetalCraft Marine Firestorm fireboats. Here are quotes from the article.

The Stan Musial is the St. Louis (MO) Fire Department’s 42½-foot MetalCraft Marine fire and rescue boat powered by twin Cummins 600-hp engines driving water jets that operates on the Mississippi River.

The Port of Houston (TX) Fire Department operates three 71-foot MetalCraft Marine Firestorm fire and rescue boats to protect 52 miles of the Houston ship channel.

Mike Arras, deputy chief at St. Louis (MO) Fire Department, says his department operates the Stan Musial, a 42½-foot MetalCraft Marine fire and rescue boat, and a 27-foot SAFE Boat on the Mississippi River. “We also have access to five swiftwater caches of equipment in the region,” Arras says, “which are trailer-operated caches with two inflatable Zodiac boats and engines, as well as additional equipment, that respond to floods on the Mississippi nearly every year.”

Ray Hummel, captain of the MetalCraft Marine fire and rescue boat, says the boat is powered by twin diesel 600-hp Cummins engines driving water jets instead of props and has two Hale pumps capable of 4,000 gpm each, two 2,000-gpm remote control monitors (on the roof and at the bow), two rear-deck manually operated 1,000-gpm monitors, and a five-foot dive platform off the aft deck. “We also have a 3,000-pound winch, backboards, webbing and netting for a body catcher, onboard oxygen, medical equipment, and extra PFDs,” Hummel says, “along with two five-inch discharges where we can pump to shore, 200 feet of 2½-inch hose, and 200 feet of 1¾-inch.”

William Buck, chief of the Port of Houston (TX) Fire Department, says his department protects 52 miles of the Houston ship channel from three stations, each housing a MetalCraft Marine 71-foot Firestorm fire and rescue boat. “Hazardous materials are one of our major concerns, so we have extinguishment and detection equipment to deal with them,” Buck says. “We carry TNT Rescue hydraulic cutters and spreaders in case we have to get access to a vessel, and each boat has water rescue equipment where we try to perform rescues without leaving the boat because the draft is only two feet 10 inches, meaning we can get close to use grappling hooks, throw lines, or a cargo net.”

Buck adds that his maritime firefighters usually recover from the bow end of the boat where the helmsman gives the boat’s water jets a push to bring the victim back to the boat’s dive platform. “We also will use FLIR where we can see the temperature difference of product on the water or an individual in the water,” Buck says, “or when we are looking for hot spots on a vessel while we are doing a cooling operation. FLIR has been a very large asset for us.”

Houston’s Firestorms also have onboard air breathing cascade systems, EMS and medical equipment, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and spare SCBA bottles, and basic life support medical facilities. The Firestorms will flow up to 15,000 gpm through their many outlets, including shore discharges, a 5,000-gpm Stang monitor on top of the deckhouse, two 1,250-gpm Elkhart Brass monitors aft, and two Elkhart Brass 2,000-gpm monitors on the bow.

Bryan Riley, chief of special operations for the Tampa (FL) Fire Department, says Tampa’s flagship fire and rescue boat is the Patriot, a 69-foot MetalCraft Marine boat the will make 34 knots; flows 13,000 gpm; and carries 400 feet of 1¾-inch fire attack hose, an advanced life support medical suite (with medications, an EKG machine, intubation equipment, and full resuscitation capabilities), a 500-gallon foam tank, a FoamPro foam system, three forward-facing monitors (a 300-gpm Stang on the wheelhouse and two on forward deck positions), and two 250-gpm monitors aft. “Our dive medics operate mainly off this boat, which has a dive platform, and an inflatable rigid-hull inflatable boat (RIB) with a 150-hp outboard motor that we deploy from a winch,” Riley says. “The boat also carries side-scanning sonar, backboards, and a Stokes basket for rescue situations.”

Seattle also has two 50-foot MetalCraft Marine fire and rescue boats that can pump 6,000 gpm and carry Stokes, backboards, EMS gear, throw bags, 1¾-inch hose, dewatering pumps, and cotton absorbent booms for spills, Kerns points out. And, foam is an important element on all of Seattle’s fireboats, he adds, with the Chief Seattle carrying 1,000 gallons, Leschi 6,000 gallons, and each of the two smaller boats carrying 200 gallons.

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