Charlotte (NC) Fire Department has recently accepted delivery of a Response FR-30J fire/rescue boat built of welded aluminum by Viking Welding & Fabrication in Kensington, New Hampshire. The 30-foot boat will increase substantially the emergency response capabilities in and along Lake Wylie, and it may be trailered to other area lakes in emergencies.
The boat was designed by Response Marine in Newburyport, MA in close conjunction with members of the Charlotte Fire Department with an emphasis on safety, reliability and mission capability. Although some features are common to Response Marine’s other fire/rescue boats, Bill Lincoln of Response Marine says, “This boat offers about as much capability and versatility as we can fit into a 30-foot, high speed package.” The boat is powered by twin 250-horsepower (hp) Mercury Verado outboards and includes a separate 380-hp inboard engine to power a jet pump, which may be used to power the boat and to provide water to the fire fighting system. Sprint speed of the 13,000-pound boat is 48 miles per hour and the fire flow is in excess of 3,500 gallons per minute. The arrangement of the firefighting system is such that the boat may be used for shore supply as well as directly fighting fires with handlines and the bow monitor. Onboard foam tankage provides for the application of firefighting foam by handline.
The boat has a sophisticated navigation and communications package that delivers full navigation and search capabilities in conditions of no visibility. The system includes side scan sonar, thermal imaging, GPS charting, and radar. Additionally, for dive operations there is a built-in diver communication system enabling open communication between divers and surface personnel. This is critical in the very restricted visibility of Lake Wylie, as surface personnel are able to use the sonar to identify objects and hazards in the water and direct the divers to move accordingly. Other features of the boat include a full 120-volt system with shorepower and 7.3 Kw generator, air conditioning, and heat.