Evanston unveils ‘green’ fire engine
Updated: April 1, 2013 7:10AM
EVANSTON — A brand-new, shiny fire engine purchased this month by the Evanston Fire Department may be glossy red like traditional fire engines, but a closer look at the 2012 Pierce Engine/Pumper reveals a truly “green” vehicle that meets new EPA standards aimed at reducing emissions caused by heavy-duty diesel vehicles.
The $590,000 “Engine 25” was added to the emergency vehicle fleet at Evanston Fire Station 5, 2830 Central St., to replace the station’s main fire engine, an aging truck that has seen its share of wear-and-tear during nearly two decades of use.
Engine 25 was unveiled to the public Saturday during an open house at Station 5, which became the first fire station in the state to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for adopting green standards in fire truck technology.
By the end of the two-hour-long open house, almost 300 people stopped by to see the new engine, which leaves a minimal carbon footprint with LED lighting and a self-cleaning fuel system that emits only nitrogen and water.
The engine gives Station 5 firefighters more fire-fighting capability with a 500-gallon water tank and the power to pump out 1,500 gallons of water per minute.
The old truck pumped 1,250 gallons of water per minute, Capt. Ron Shulga said.
The LED lighting system not only increases energy efficiency, but also lightens the truck’s load and frees up space by eliminating the need for the heavy old-age generator that sits in the back of the old truck.
Shulga explained that the fuel system creates a minimal environmental impact by using low-sulfur fuel and with the help of Diesel Exhaust Fluid, a chemical reactant that reduces emissions.
With fire engines under new EPA-imposed regulations that limit acceptable emissions levels, Chief Greg Klaiber said now was the ideal time to replace the clunky main engine.
The Evanston Fire Department will keep the old truck on reserve to use it for back-up when the new engine is out for maintenance, Klaiber explained.
Besides being equipped with all the bells and whistles, Engine 25 also has a life safety center that carries all the equipment found in an ambulance, except for a stretcher.
Last year 9,300 emergency calls came in, setting an all-time record in Evanston for the most calls in a single year, Klaiber said. Out of those calls, 65 percent, or about 5,800 were for emergency medical service calls, which mostly include non-fire related emergencies, but under protocol fire fighters respond to all the calls.
There were 50-60 actual fires reported in 2012, he added.
“Community outreach events are important because the public can come in and see what they’re paying for, and it also lets us inform the people about what we do and how we do it,” Klaiber said. “People are surprised to learn all the ways we serve the community.”