The Smith County Emergency Services District 2 and Bullard Volunteer Fire Department received a new fire engine over the weekend to help respond to local emergencies.
Firefighters conducted a traditional “push-in” ceremony at Bullard Fire Station 1 on Sunday to celebrate the arrival of the truck. Justin Walker, Bullard fire chief, said the push-in ceremony is a tradition that has carried over from the 1800s.
“When equipment was drawn by horse, it was difficult to get the horses to back it back into the station, but the horse team just didn’t want to do that, so the firefighters would let the horses free up from the equipment, and push the equipment into the station. That’s become a little ceremony for welcoming a new piece of equipment,” Walker said.
The ceremony is a commonly practiced tradition to fire departments when receiving new vehicles. At the ceremony, Smith County Emergency Services District 2 Commissioner Johnny Brown blessed the truck, followed by a social meeting.
“It was an opportunity to celebrate the Smith County ESD 2 and Bullard Fire Department’s effort in getting that truck purchased and delivered,” Brown said.
The purchase of the fire engine was made as part of the capital improvement plan in place for the district. This plan addresses the need to replace aging apparatus throughout the district. The new engine is equipped with modern firefighting technology, and up to date equipment. The Piece PUC features a Compressed Air Foam System, 1,000 gallons of water, which is an upgrade above the 500 gallons that was carried on the previous engine.
The city of Bullard has not received a new fire engine since 2008. With a minor increase in fires in the area and an increase in call volumes, which are already at 600 calls for this year, there was an essential need for a new truck.
“About 12 years is the lifespan of a front line pumper, so we were approaching that. The prior one didn’t have the water carry capacity that we like to see out in the county. It could be a while before your support vehicles and neighboring departments show up and bring more water to you, so we just felt like it was necessary to get more water on scene to begin with,” Walker said.
Walker said every year, the call volume is increasing as they’re seeing residential growth in the Bullard area.
“[Receiving of the new equipment] means increased capabilities of what our crews can do. It’s going to be an increase in emergency services and the effectiveness of the crews that arrive on scene. They’ll have the tools to get it done,” he said.