The Windham Fire-Rescue Department is made up of fifteen vehicles. The vehicle use ranges from tanker-pumpers to aerial platforms. This article is designed to give you and understanding of the vehicles, types and uses.
The first type we will discuss is our ambulances. These vehicles are also referred to in our region as rescues. Windham has two 2010 ambulances that were manufactured by Horton Ambulances. They serve the purpose of providing emergency medical responses and transports to the regional hospitals of Bridgton, Portland and Lewiston. The service provided in medical terms range from basic services for basic illness or lesser type injuries to life sustaining systems for the very serious illness or injuries. They are set up to operate from the basic level to the very advanced paramedic level. Our apparatus also carry some basic firefighting equipment for the personnel that staff the apparatus. They have a self-contained breathing apparatus for the two crew members as well as some very basic hand tools.
Another type that we will discuss is Windham Squad 1. This is the firefighter’s toolbox. It carries our tools that are useful at fires as well as motor vehicle crashes. It carries no water and has pump capacity. The vehicle is 2003 HME chassis made by PL Custom in New Jersey. It contains our heavy duty equipment for lifting tons or cutting apart vehicles. It carries a winch which can secure a vehicle that may be in a dangerous situation so further actions do not follow. In addition it carries an assortment of saws for cutting wood, metals, steel or concrete. Other equipment to be found are materials for dealing with hazardous materials, and removal of fumes or smoke from areas. It also contains a light tower which can be raised from the roof to light up a large accident area or a fire scene. This is a tremendous asset when working in the night time hours. The vehicle also carries self-contained breathing apparatus and hand tools for the riding personnel which can be up to six people. As you can see from the assortment of tools why we call this the fireman’s toolbox.
A special vehicle that we have in the fleet is our pumper-tanker. This is a 2007 International that carries about 3000 gallons of water. It also has a pump that is capable of pumping water at or above 1500 gallons per minute. The apparatus carries over 2,000 feet of large diameter hose, the hose size is a combination of four and five inch hose. It has tools and breathing apparatus to accommodate the two people that will respond with this vehicle to emergencies. This vehicle also has a folding tank on the side of the vehicle that will hold the capacity of the truck so it may leave and reload. Use of this vehicle is required when there are no fire hydrants available, which is about 60 percent of the area in our community. This vehicle in combination with other vehicles of this type can make up what is known as a tanker shuttle operation for moving large quantities of water.
The department has a range of pumpers that are used to supply water, deliver personnel and equipment to an emergency. A pumpers function is to put pressure behind the water that is either brought to the emergency or add pressure behind the water that is coming from the hydrant and needed at the emergency. Our fleet is comprised up of four vehicles of this type. They are referred to as Windham Engine 1, which is a 1981 Mack pumper, Windham Engine 5, which is a 2000 Ferrara pumper, Windham Engine 6 which is a 1995 Ferrara International, and Windham Engine 7, which is a 2007 E-One. Each of these vehicles carry 1,200 feet of large diameter hose, 1000 gallons of water and can have a pump capacity of between 1,000 and 1,500 gallons per minute. They also carry six self-contained breathing apparatus and the tools for six personnel to complete their tasks. These apparatus also contain the medical equipment to deal medical emergencies prior to the ambulances arrival. Each of the Windham stations has one pumper for service emergencies.
Windham has two ladder trucks. Both of the ladder trucks carry water in lesser amounts than the pumpers. Ladder 4 carries five hundred gallons of water and Windham-Gorham Tower 3 carries 300 gallons of water. Windham-Tower 3 is a piece of apparatus that was purchased jointly by the towns of Windham and Gorham. Ladder 4 has an aerial reach of 75 feet and a pumping capacity of 1,500 gallons per minute. Tower 3 has an aerial height of 95 feet and a pumping capacity of 2,000 gallons per minute. In addition, it carries a supply of ladders that can placed at strategic areas around the building. The vehicles will carry from 4-6 people, self-contained breathing apparatus for each, and the necessary tools and lights for the personnel to begin working.
A recent addition to the fleet has been two new pickups. The pickups are four wheel drive units that can be used to tow some of the trailers we use within the department. These trailers are only needed once in a while, but are critical when needed. In addition we are using the pickups for responses such as wires down, bark mulch fires, grass and woods fires and other calls that do not require a response of a major fire unit. One of the more important uses of the pickups is responding to medical calls. The primary purpose is to get medical personnel on scene for the patient in the outlying areas before the ambulance arrives with the equipment to transport the patient to the hospital.
The final two units are vehicles that are used to conduct business of the department. The Chief’s vehicle is a four wheel drive unit that carries the radios and equipment that is used at a larger scale incident. Also in the vehicle are some basic maintenance equipment, first aid equipment, and special materials for unique incidents. The Deputy Chief’s vehicle is a retired police cruiser that is outfitted with response equipment for incidents and medical calls as well.