Pierce Manufacturing Inc., an Oshkosh Corporation company, announced the Big Bear, California Fire Department has placed an order for three custom Pierce fire apparatus, including two Pierce Arrow XT™ 4×4 pumpers and an Ascendant® 100’ Heavy-Duty Aerial Tower with mid-mount configuration. The new fire apparatus purchase is part of a fleet upgrade and replacement initiative for the Big Bear Fire Department and was coordinated through authorised Pierce dealer, South Coast Fire Equipment, Inc.
“Due to economic challenges and a consolidation nearly 15 years ago, fire apparatus replacements were on hold, making upgrade and replacement initiatives a major priority in recent years,” said Big Bear Fire Department Captain Norman Dykesten. “As we began the bid process, we appreciated South Coast Fire Equipment’s responsiveness and efforts to introduce configurations we didn’t know existed. The value and quality construction we received from Pierce within our available resources were immense, and we are confident the new fire apparatus will be exactly what we need to continue serving our community.”
The Big Bear Fire Department operates out of four fire stations with 58 personnel and responds to over 4,500 calls per year. The service area is a unique mix of rural, mountainous, and urban neighbourhoods. The jurisdiction includes two resorts offering skiing and snowboarding in the winter, as well as mountain bike trails and golfing in the spring, summer, and fall seasons. The population for this resort community can fluctuate from approximately 17,800 full time residents to upwards of 250,000 on any given day or holiday weekend, depending on tourist activity. This creates an ever-evolving basis of fire suppression and ambulance needs, for which the Big Bear Fire Department must always be prepared.
Captain Dykesten added, “Although San Bernardino County Fire is able to provide immediate assistance should mutual aid become necessary, one of the biggest challenges Big Bear Fire Department faces is significant additional resources are farther away. The next closest community is 25 miles from us. The commute on mountain highways makes accessibility to critical equipment particularly important for our crew.”
The fire apparatus order is the first the Big Bear Fire Department has placed with South Coast Fire Equipment. Fleet upgrades also include the addition of a Type 3 Model 34 Wildland vehicle from Boise Mobile Equipment. “We enjoyed having the opportunity to share all of the advanced features Pierce offers to help the Big Bear Fire Department select apparatus to best fit their needs,” said Tim Olley, sales representative at South Coast Fire Equipment. “Our team looks forward to building our relationship and providing dedicated service support for many years to come.”
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