Long-Anticipated New Fire Engine Comes to Big Canoe This Week

Looks like the celebrations during the Fourth of July weekend are coming a bit early.

Big Canoe’s long-awaited new firetruck, something that the Public Safety Department has worked to securing since it began the acquisition process in 2019, arrives this week. While this isn’t the first time Big Canoe has ordered a new truck, this will be the first engine specifically been designed for Big Canoe’s needs.

Not just any vehicle will work in Big Canoe, says Ricky Jordan, the director of Public Safety. Big Canoe’s mountainous terrain, winding and often narrow roads require a truck that is ideal for the community’s needs.

The truck has a shorter wheelbase for tighter turnaround on narrow roadways, a lower clearance height to fit under the covered bridge, and plenty of compartment space for tool and equipment storage. Perhaps its most striking feature is the 4×4 chassis, which will help the engine navigate the steep inclines of Big Canoe, even in the event of dangerous weather conditions. The engine also has rear and side mount cameras to help the driver maneuver through tight areas and 12-volts of exterior lighting that can completely illuminate the area around the truck.

“Over the years, we have worked hard to improve the Public Safety Department says Jordan. “One area where we have struggled is in having a reliable engine that could meet the demands of our community’s unique terrain and carry all the necessary equipment. This is a huge blessing to our department.”

The arrival of this truck was delayed for multiple reasons. The process of ordering an ordinary firetruck is already a lengthy process, which requires planning, bidding, and construction, says Jordan. The unique specifications of the truck – particularly the inclusion of the 4×4 chassis – also required additional planning and careful construction. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in supply chain issues that led to further delays. The end result of all of this waiting and effort is an engine the department has sorely needed.

Most departments downgrade their front-line trucks to reserve status after 10 years and discard them after 20, says Jordan, but “our current front-line fire engine is a 1997 model that has served well. Big Canoe does not have as many calls, so ours is not used and abused like in a busier department. But it’s definitely time for the current truck to be moved to a secondary station.”

The safety department expects the new engine to arrive by Monday, June 27, Jordan said. It will be housed in Station 3, while the older engine will be moved to Station 5.

That said, we will have to wait a bit longer before we get to meet the new vehicle as the Public Safety Department will host a Wetdown/Push-In ceremony at the Fire Station in the Village Core at 10 a.m., Friday, July 1. This tradition among firefighters symbolically brings a new vehicle into service by spraying it down with an older fire truck. After the Public Safety staff pushes the new vehicle into the building, cake and refreshments will be served.

For more info: contact Ricky Jordan at rjordan@bigcanoepoa.org or (706) 268-1792.

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