• An Eliasville Volunteer Fire Department truck purchased with a grant by the Texas A&M Forest Service Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program. (Contributed Photo)

Eliasville VFD uses Forest Service grant to upgrade truck

The Eliasville Volunteer Fire Department used a grant to help purchase a slip-on unit for an excess 5-ton cargo military truck.

The firefighters gave the military vehicle a new life as a firefighting machine. They painted it a non-military color, and added an extended front bumper, brush rails and a slip-on unit. The slip-on has a 1,048-gallon poly water tank and foam capability.

The grant was made by the Texas A&M Forest Service Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program.

The Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program, launched in Texas in 2005 by the Forest Service, has released over 500 retired military trucks to volunteer fire departments across the state. The agency transports the vehicle from a military installation, performs necessary repairs and delivers it to the volunteer fire department at no cost to them. The program is sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, which oversees the national program.

“The addition of the slip-on unit with foam capability will help to increase our firefighting capacity because the foam has a cooling, wetting affect,” said Eliasville VFD Fire Chief Jason Henderson. “The combination of the foam and water increases the effectiveness of the water, helping it to go further and making it wetter.”

Firefighting foam is used for fire suppression. It cools the fire and coats the fuel, preventing contact with oxygen. The firefighter spreads a blanket of foam on the area involved, smothering the fire and decreasing the possibility of it reigniting.

The truck is considered a heavy duty brush truck with the primary purpose of fighting wildland fires in the department’s 201-square-mile protection area, but it has multipurpose abilities. Since there are no fire hydrants in the Eliasville community it can also be used to draft and pump water and be used in high water rescue when medical needs arise.

“The Clear Fork River runs into the Brazos River in South Bend and usually ends up over-flowing,” said Henderson. “This truck has the capability to go through high standing water and will be a benefit if there is a medical need that arises during times of flooding. Last year we had to rescue a lady who was expecting a baby and couldn’t get cross the flooded roads. This truck will be able to easily get the job done.”

Eliasville VFD appreciates having a large brush truck that can get through the rural, brushy terrain to help save life and property in their community and surrounding area, Henderson said.

For more information on programs offered by Texas A&M Forest Service, visit http://texasfd.com.

The Graham Leader

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