The color might make it stand out a bit from the rest of the apparatus being driven by Lathrop Manteca Firefighters.
But its symbolism makes it seem right at home.
This week the Lathrop Manteca Fire District took possession of a fully equipped Type 1 Fire Engine from the California Office of Emergency Services – vehicles that are handed out only after a lengthy screening process that looks at staffing levels, training capabilities and the ability of a responding agency to answer a call at a moment’s notice.
And according to Lathrop Manteca Battalion Chief Larry Madoski, the district met all of those criteria and will have a tool in its arsenal that will allow them to better protect both the citizens of Lathrop and the surrounding area in the event of a disaster or other emergency situation.
It’s a big feather in the cap for Lathrop.
“I’d say that this piece of apparatus opens up a unique set of possibilities for us,” Madoski said. “First of all, it gives our members the chance to get experience in large scale disaster training, and it a major plus to have another engine that we’re able to staff.”
With a price tag of nearly $300,000, the engine – which is also designated as a Type 3 Urban Search and Rescue unit that would be crucial in the event of a major earthquake – will be housed at Station 34 on River Islands Parkway but could be shuffled around to other sites as needed.
As part of the agreement with the State of California, the district is responsible for all maintenance and repairs under $100. If it is used for immediate response in the local community, the gas must be paid for by that agency. When it gets called up to respond to a wildland fire or other major incident, the fuel will be provided by Cal OES, and all of the hours of the firefighters responding will be reimbursed by the state.
While having another engine is valuable, just being presented with one, Madoski said, is a testament to the type of training that has become standard in Lathrop for its firefighters – which are tasked with providing urban coverage to mainland Lathrop as well as staffing a pair of rural stations, a stretch of the San Joaquin River and a plethora of industrial and commercial spaces.
Needing to be prepared for anything – from a train accident to a missing person on the river to an industrial spill – played a big part in getting the nod thanks to the variety of training that goes into preparing for all of those unlikely events.
The district has in-house instructors for Urban Search and Rescue and owns its own California recognized certified rescue systems training site – something that helped the district in the application process.
Now that the engine is in place, Madoski said that the ability to serve the community would only be strengthened because new hires will now be able to train with the apparatus that they’ll be using.
“As you bring in new employees we already have the benefit of the state certified rescue systems training system which means we don’t have to send them outside to get the training that’s needed,” he said. “We’ve already proven ourselves and our training program, so to speak. And now that we’ll be able to train personnel on the apparatus and we have the staffing in place for it, we’ll be even more prepared.”