Fire Department adds 2 engines

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BY LOREEN BERLIN: The Garden Grove Fire Department has added two engines to its arsenal, both designed to hold more paramedic equipment than your typical engine.

The engines will be at stations No. 2, at Chapman Avenue and Gilbert Street, and No. 5, on Western Avenue, just south of Lampson Avenue.

The engines began on a design board at Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wis. (between Milwaukee and Green Bay) and went through seven drafts before completion 18 months later.

BY LOREEN BERLIN: The Garden Grove Fire Department has added two engines to its arsenal, both designed to hold more paramedic equipment than your typical engine.

The engines will be at stations No. 2, at Chapman Avenue and Gilbert Street, and No. 5, on Western Avenue, just south of Lampson Avenue.

The engines began on a design board at Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wis. (between Milwaukee and Green Bay) and went through seven drafts before completion 18 months later.

"It all starts with a specification order that's very detailed as to how we want the fire engines built to our own precise requirements," said Capt. Randy Abrahamson. "Pierce makes custom fire apparatus' to customer's specifications; our engines began in January 2014 and were delivered by Pierce in June 2015," he said.

Abrahamson said they went through numerous specification changes in the process.

"We tell them what we want and they tell us what they are able to do," he said.

Once the engines arrive in Garden Grove, it still takes time to outfit and customize the compartments to the way all of the Garden Grove fire engines are set up for consistency in emergency.

"The engine is an empty box. We customize them the way we want our equipment mounted and stored," said firefighter/paramedicJordan Jemiola. "We customize how the tools are set up, so that in the middle of the night during an emergency, we know exactly where all of the equipment is located. The captain and the engineer each have their own compartment for personal protective gear and equipment; it's self-contained with a breathing apparatus; everyone on the engine has their own firefighting clothing area."

Both engines have fire hoses, a water tank, tools and equipment and a pump, to pump the water at a certain pressure based on the need at any given time.

The difference between a fire engine and a fire truck is mainly that a fire truck  has an aerial ladder and more rescue tools such as the "jaws of life," or forcible-entry tools.

During the building process of the engines, the fire station has a mid and final inspection meeting to make sure the fire engine is built with their needs in mind.

"The plant in Wisconsin is a huge and awesome state-of-the-art facility," said Abrahamson. "Our trips there determine if it's going as planned and makes sure it coincides with our specifications and drawings."

Abrahamson said what's unique to their engines is the engineer's pump-panel, located mid-ship and top-mounted, which gets the engineer out of the street and harm's way, where they can have a better sight-line of what's going on around them during a fire.

One of the specifications they asked for was common water levers that can turn different hoses on and off.

"We have approximately 2,000 feet of hose on the engines that can be attached to numerous discharges or spigots from 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches, plus fire hydrants, and the water from the hydrant is increased through the pump-panel and discharged through nozzles at the end of the hoses," Abrahamson said.

Fire engines are designed to be in service for approximately 20 years and then in reserve for five years. "We have a vehicle replacement plan that the city follows," Abrahamson added.

Garden Grove fire engines and trucks used to be yellow but the city is going back to the traditional color of red. There are seven fire stations in Garden Grove and five have red trucks and engines. Any new engines or trucks will be red from this point forward.

The Fire Department is in the process of putting the new engines into service while putting the 1995 engine into reserve, since it has been in service as a front-line engine for 20 years.

A 1989 engine is being taken out of service and will either be donated to the Fire Academy or auctioned off to perhaps a fire-engine collector. Auctions are said not to be a big money maker, but a way of moving the retiring engines out of the fleet and recovering some money for them.

All fire engines and trucks are clean-burning diesel engines and comply with emissions standards

Established in 1926, the Garden Grove Fire Department is a full-service agency, serving not only Garden Grove, but Westminster, Stanton and Cypress and has an automatic aid agreement with surrounding cities through computer-aided dispatch.

This allows communities to receive the closest and fastest response time, depending on availability and time of day for each agency.

This month makes 89 years since the Garden Grove Fire Department was originally formed as the "Garden Grove Fire Protection District," having 25 volunteer firefighters who used an American La France fire engine with a 400-gallon water capacity.