Fire Departments in the US and Canada Embrace EVs

Fire Departments Embrace EVs

Fire departments in Toronto, Greater Montreal embrace electric trucks for safety and performance

Electric vehicles are cleaner, faster, safer to operate, and a lot more versatile in an emergency – according to the fire department.

It’s not just environmentalists and people who want to live on Mars getting behind EVs – local fire departments in Canada are jumping on the EV bandwagon, too, with departments in Toronto and Greater Montreal transitioning some of their fire trucks to electric. Recently, Toronto Fire Services, the largest municipal fire department in Canada, announced that it has ordered two Vector fire pumper trucks from Spartan Emergency Response brand, a subsidiary of US-based REV Group, Inc.

“Toronto Fire Services is pleased to be working with Safetek Emergency Vehicles Ltd. and the REV Group Inc. on the design and delivery of our first fully electric pumper trucks,” said Matthew Pegg, Toronto Fire Services chief, in a press statement. “These trucks will have the same functionality and capabilities as our other pumper trucks but will leverage leading-edge electric vehicle technology.”

Each pumper truck will cost $2 million, which is on par with other electrified units on the market today but about twice the cost of a conventional pumper truck. 

Meanwhile, through a subsidiary brand called E-ONE, REV Group will build a custom all-electric Vector Rescue Decon truck for the city of Varennes Fire Safety Service in suburban Montreal. These rescue trucks will carry extrication equipment, blocks, and self-contained breathing apparatuses and come equipped with breathing air systems as well as on-board showers.

“This emergency truck is one-of-a-kind,” said Martin Damphousse, mayor of Varennes in a press release. “In addition to having a self-sufficiency that guarantees reliability for the entire duration of interventions, it will meet the needs of the Fire Safety Service on three specific points: the decontamination of firefighters on site with their equipment, air refuelling breathing and release during a call.”

Why are these fire departments moving from diesel to electric? For one, electrified vehicles will do away with the issues of diesel exhaust, from the heat to the particulate matter. Another bonus is that electrified trucks won’t have the noise of diesel engines, which will make it much easier for firefighters to communicate with each other.

And then, of course, there’s the environmental factor. Toronto has set a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 with its TransformTO Net Zero Strategy. Since Toronto Fire Services responds to 300 to 400 calls every day, the city government believes that adopting these electric fire trucks will help them get closer to that target.

The electric trucks for Toronto Fire Services electric trucks should arrive by 2024, while the Varennes order is set to be delivered to the city by 2023.


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