As Sonoma Valley and the broader county confront the prospect of one more extensive and sizeable fire period, a Bay Area business is featuring a controversial company to private persons, wineries and other corporations: Leasing or getting a hearth truck.
Pacific Freeway Rentals, a Hayward enterprise, is renting and offering Style 6 fire trucks – motor vehicles about the size of a small pickup truck with a pump on the back again ‒ with a 300-gallon tank ability, hose reel and foam program. The trucks lease for all around $300 a day and about $3,500 a thirty day period, and value about $175,000 to $300,000 to invest in.
Moreover, buyers can decide for onsite education from a retired Cal Fire battalion chief for an extra price.
When the rental company has been about for 19 several years, Pacific Freeway Rentals only started renting hearth vans lately. The services debuted at the Sonoma Raceway June 5 and 6 at the raceway’s after-a-calendar year NASCAR occasion. The raceway rented two hearth trucks from Pacific Highway Rentals in addition to the 4 hearth vans that are constantly prepared to go at the monitor.
The raceway’s crew taken care of the machines without the need of more education, stated Gail Cunningham, the raceway’s functions manager. “Our crews have several several years of practical experience. The variety of fire that would spring up at a track is quite specialized,” Cunningham explained.
Cunningham said her crew has Firefighter 1 certification and receives biannual teaching. Firefighter 1 certification qualifies folks to complete at the entry stage in a volunteer or compensated hearth office as firefighters in California.
No fires broke out throughout the function, Cunningham claimed. She stated she would lease hearth trucks from the organization once again.
Firefighting authorities expressed considerations about the support.
“We realize peoples’ ideal to defend their residence, but we don’t condone them preventing fires simply because they haven’t experienced the needed coaching and the right gear necessary to struggle wildland fires,” claimed Lynnette Spherical, an info officer for Cal Hearth.
Spencer Andreis, a battalion main with Sonoma Valley Hearth, stated, “They (persons renting the vehicles) are most likely functioning in harm’s way and never have working experience with fireplace behavior.
“They don’t have the know-how or specialized coaching to know exactly where they really should be putting their apparatus, and if and when they ought to most likely disengage from a fire fight,” the battalion chief claimed.
Instead than striving to manage a hearth themselves, assets proprietors ought to adhere to evacuation warnings and orders so firefighters can safely do their work opportunities, the battalion main explained.
“When persons try out to just take independent action on their qualities, it normally takes absent from our skill to suppress the hearth. Our aim becomes everyday living basic safety and we have to deviate from fire suppression,” Andreis stated.
Sonoma County Fire District Main Mark Heine, a board member of the California Fire Chiefs Association, stated, “There are a couple of of these (fireplace truck rental) companies that are setting up to pop up in this condition and other states. It is an incredibly risky endeavor.”
“Even if (the consumers) have some instruction, these fires all around right here are burning at an intensity I haven’t noticed in 40 many years. To equip these persons with a nominal firefighting tool and minimal teaching and talk to them to get a stand to battle these wildfires is a set up for disaster,” Heine claimed.
“It’s a terrible condition all all around. They (rental customers) are not on our radio channels they are not properly trained with us they are not part of the schooling workforce.
“It’s a set up. Any individual is likely to get wounded or killed,” Heine explained.
In response, Paul Indelicato, operator of Pacific Freeway Rentals, mentioned, “I wholly agree with the firefighters you talked to. People shouldn’t make a stand against a wildfire.
“That’s not the intention. The intention is smaller spot fires that may well start miles from the primary fireplace,” Indelicato claimed.
“This is if the wind blows embers from a fireplace 5 or six miles away on your residence and begins a small fire. This is a fantastic tool to put that out. Your to start with phone should really be to the fireplace office to say this is what’s taking place,” the enterprise proprietor mentioned.
“A few wineries I’ve talked to reported when the fires blew through past yr in 2020 they were a lot more or significantly less on their own for the 1st 12 several hours due to the fact all accessible firefighters had been at the primary blaze,” the rental agency proprietor mentioned.
“They had place fires commencing on their home for a week or two. They had been out with buckets of h2o or whatever they could find, striving to extinguish flames by them selves with whichever they could,” he claimed.
Indelicato has arranged with Scott Watson of Watson Fireplace Teaching & Vegetation Administration, a retired Cal Fireplace battalion main, to provide teaching if requested. So considerably, Watson explained, he has not qualified any Pacific Highway Rental consumers.
“I would in no way declare that I’m instruction firefighters to go out and battle forest fires. That is the furthest from my intent,” explained Watson, who declined to give the price of the education. He reported the education is 40 hours, and typically he would perform the schooling himself.
“I’m teaching persons to get h2o out of the reaction motor vehicle on their property and secure their residence,” Watson mentioned.
Some spots covered by the coaching would be when it’s appropriate to remain and when to depart – entrapment avoidance – and how to adhere to the anticipations of the incident commander and the functions portion chiefs, Watson explained.
“A fire truck is a tool just like a hearth extinguisher and men and women really should be qualified how to appropriately use hearth extinguishers,” Watson mentioned.
“I concur with the main 100 p.c. We try to give them the power of awareness so they can use this software properly and know when to keep and when to leave,” Watson reported