Structural Protection Units are used to keep buildings wet during a wild fire.
The Comox Fire Department has the usual engines and ladder truck but it is also one of a growing number of departments on the Island now using Structural Protection Units to battle interface fires.
“Well we realized that interface fires have the potential around here and also going around the province to help other jurisdictions with our unit, this is what they’re looking for and again it carries everything that we need” Assistant Chief Jim Lariviere told CHEK News.
From portable water pumps and hoses, to bladders for holding water, the unit has many fire-fighting tools including sprinklers.
“It’s pretty similar to your lawn sprinklers and we’re able to mount those to various structures and with the pump and it keeps them wet during a fire” said Lariviere.
The equipment was put to use during last summer’s large Dog Mountain fire at Sproat Lake.
The sprinkler system was set up and saved several homes as the fire raged beside them.
Oyster River also a Structural Protection Unit ready to go at a moment’s notice.
“We probably would have three or four sprinkler systems up on the roof itself and we would just turn on the pumps and let it go” said Oyster River Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Chris Murray as he explained how a system of sprinklers would be set up to save a building.
“I think it really came out in 2003 when the Kelowna fire was and more fire departments were getting structural protection units then. We got ours about 7 years ago, 8 years ago and we’ve been filling it up with stuff ever since” added Murray.
Both departments agree these units would not have made a difference in the Fort McMurray fire but in the case of a smaller wildfire it might be enough to save someone’s house.