New Clinton Fire Boat To Increase Capabilities On The River - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

New Clinton Fire Boat To Increase Capabilities On The River

Updated: Aug 27, 2013 09:52 PM
    First responders in Clinton will be better able to respond to issues up and down the Mississippi River thanks to a big federal grant. The department is getting nearly $450,000 to buy a new fire and rescue boat.

     The current fire and rescue boat has served the city of Clinton for nearly a decade, but it has no where near the capabilities that are planned for the new one. Division Chief Andrew McGovern says firefighters are limited right now because of the boat's size. With miles of river to cover he say there's been times when this boat just wasn't enough, for example, a blaze at ADM or a tugboat engine fire.

     "For anything like a large recreational boat up to tugs that push the barges, really isn't that capable of having much affect on it," said McGovern.

     Before, neighboring agencies had to be brought in to assist. In the future, the new boat will be able to handle a whole slew issues. They include transporting more people who may be stranded or injured with a larger, all weather vessel. For fires, water can be pumped up to 2,000 gallons per minute as opposed to just 250 gallons per minute with the current boat. That's going to be a big improvement considering there are several heavily traveled bridges and a lot of big businesses on the river.

     "Be able to actually sustain an event that might happen to a lot of our industry," added McGovern.

     The federal grant also require more bells and whistles like the capability to respond to different acts of terrorism including: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive. There will be testing equipment on the boat for those types of events and also protection. First responders will also get new technology for searching beneath the surface with radar, sonar, and an infrared camera. Officials expect it will be utilized up and down the river when it hits the water next spring.

     The total cost on the new boat is almost $600,000. The grant is a 75 percent match so the city will have to come up with close to $150,000, but the plan is to reach out to local agencies to avoid using taxpayer money.


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