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Trailer full of sprinklers helps Shuswap fire fighting

SHUSWAP – The Salmon Arm Fire Department got a chance to test out some new equipment that will help to fight wild fires in the Columbia Shuswap Region.

The District has purchased two Structure Protection Units or, simply put, trailers full of sprinklers, which can protect up to 35 homes at a time that are in the path of encroaching wildfires.

Cliff Doherty with the Shuswap Emergency Program says the key that the unit is not responding as a fire fighting tool, “It doesn’t go once the fire is there. It goes in advance of the fire. They will dampen the area and hopefully the fire will stop or go around it.”

Jake Jacobson one of the fire fighters working with the units says the new equipment gives them a chance to do something they have never been able to do before, “We can actually set up the sprinkler system in advance of a fire. The fire fighters can now leave and do other jobs, access homes that are on fire and it will run automatically. Then hopefully, if all goes well, the fire will go through and the sprinklers will protect the house. So it frees up a lot of fire fighters to do other jobs.”

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The District and its member municipalities purchased the two units at $80,000 each. One unit will be based in the Shuswap region while the other will stay in the Columbia area.

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