By Autumn Waite, Snohomish County Fire District 7 Public Information Officer.
Snohomish County Fire District 7 will reduce air pollution, decrease noise levels near fire apparatus, and lower fuel consumption thanks to a grant received from the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
Two fire engines and three emergency medical response units have been retrofitted by Cummins Northwest with battery and generator based idle reduction systems. The cost of nearly $83,000 will be completely covered by the grant.
“This project offers many benefits,” said Scott DeWees, project manager with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. “First and foremost, it reduces diesel pollution from fire trucks and aid cars when they are on-site at an emergency situation. This protects the health of everyone at the scene, especially the people needing medical assistance and the responders themselves, who work with this equipment day in and day out.”
While at an emergency scene, firefighters must keep their apparatus idling to run emergency lights, provide power for tools, etc. The new generator and battery-based system will power all of these things, allowing the engine to shut down.
The new equipment will recognize when the apparatus has been idle for more than two minutes and will automatically shut the apparatus down and switch to the generator mode. The process is efficient and automatic, allowing firefighters to focus on the emergency. The system will also automatically restart the engine to recharge the batteries if needed.