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Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service reducing emissions while responding to emergencies

Department using zero-emissions equipment whenever possible

September 21, 2020

Fire truck
Current WFPS apparatus burn diesel while idling, but new battery technology will maintain the electric loads without running the engines to help reduce emissions.

In addition to responding to emergencies, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is working to reduce its emissions and environmental footprint.

Battery Idle Reduction Technology (IRT) is one of the features that will be included on the department’s new apparatus. Rather than relying on the fuel-burning diesel engines at an emergency scene, the trucks will use a battery to power electrical loads meaning they release zero emissions.

The new technology will sense when the engine is idle for three minutes and switches to the battery. It will then sense when the apparatus requires heating or cooling and automatically turns the engine back on when required.

Graph of fire truck

The service currently has 10 new fire engines and two heavy rescue vehicles on order that will include the technology. Once the new vehicles start arriving early in 2021, WFPS anticipates it will be the first fire service in Canada to use battery IRT on its apparatus.

“It’s important for WFPS to be a leader and demonstrate our commitment to a greener community by reducing our emissions.”  said Brad Enders, Director of WFPS’s Emergency Mechanical Services Branch.

In addition to reducing the department’s carbon footprint, Enders anticipates costs will be reduced with lower fuel expenses. He also expects decreased maintenance expenses with longer periods between regular preventative maintenance services and reduced out-of-service time.

The technology improves safety for first responders, with quieter scenes and reduced diesel fumes.

On top of the cleaner trucks, Enders explained the department is reducing emissions by purchasing other battery-powered equipment such as industrial fans. New positive pressure ventilation fans, used to move smoke from structures, also run on battery rather than combustion engines. If the batteries deplete, the fan has the option to be plugged in to a 110v power supply.

As existing tools such as chain saws, cut-off saws, and station maintenance equipment reaches its end of life, they will also be replace with battery-powered models.

“Not only does this reduce the emissions released from the actual equipment use but it also reduces the fuel and emissions consumed during the pickup and delivery of the fuel,” said Enders. “Every little bit helps.”

The new technology is one way we are continuing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as part of the City’s Climate Action Plan


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