Peachland Fire Department acquires WASP (Wildfire Automated Suppression and Protection) Trailer

Published:  08 October, 2013

Peachland Fire and Rescue Service, located in the Province of British Columbia, Canada, acquired a new state of the art piece of equipment that could help protect the community from structural damage in the event of a future wildfire.

The equipment, known as a Wildfire Automated Suppression and Protection (WASP) system was delivered to an enthusiastic Peachland Fire Department on August 28th of this year.

‘This system is really state of the art firefighting for structural protection and we're happy Peachland chose Wasp to provide them with this addition to their wildland firefighting equipment,’ WASP Technical Director Darrel Pyke said.

The system includes a trailer containing over 1500' of hose and sprinklers paired with cell phone and satellite technology that allows the equipment to be operated remotely and offsite. If there is a fire, the unit can be deployed to the location and then left behind without fire personnel to attend to it. From a cell phone or laptop anywhere in the world the fire department can operate the system, programming it to turn on or off as needed. The WASP is powered by a powerful battery, so it can be deployed in the field for up to 10 days without the battery requiring charging.

"The offsite operations make WASP units very safe for firefighters, keeping them out of harm's way while protecting very large areas from wildfire" says Randy Cowling, President of Wasp Manufacturing Ltd., the suppliers of the Wasp line of sprinkler protection products.

The system has timing programs that allow the sprinklers to be turned on and off as needed to preserve water. The WASP system can be hooked up to a standard water supply, such as a fire hydrant, but if there isn't one available it can also be used with a water pump that drafts water out of another source such as a swimming pool, creek or pond.

‘The main advantage is we don't have to tie up our firefighters to sit there and maintain the sprinkler system,’ says Peachland Fire Chief Dennis Craig. "We can go in, set it up and walk away. We can turn it on remotely so we don't have to turn it on hours before the fire shows up. We can wait until the fire is just about there and then turn it on at our leisure and not have to send somebody to go back in and turn it on and waste water."

‘It's bigger than being just a sprinkler protection unit. We have future plans to make it a true structural protection trailer where we're going to add a portable pump inside and a 1,500 gallon bladder for water so when we go to fight a wild land fire we can take this trailer and not tie up one of our pieces of apparatus. It will have extra forestry hose, extra nozzles, all of our forestry equipment in there, so we can take the trailer and dump it off in an area and not tie up a truck,’ Craig said.

Pyke got the idea for the unit during his 17-year career working as a firefighter and logger. The company introduced a full sized Wasp in Alberta four years ago, and since then, it has been used with success fighting fires in that province.

A full sized WASP unit performs a similar function to the smaller one purchased by the Peachland Fire Department, but has a water storage tank along with a diesel generator and electric pumps, while the smaller WASP operates directly from a fire hydrant and runs from an onboard battery power supply.

The $24,700 2013 capital expenditure was approved by Peachland council earlier this year.

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