Lake Assault builds fire/rescue boats for San Bernardino County

Lake Assault Boats, Superior, Wis., recently put two fire and rescue boats into service with the San Bernardino County Fire Department in California. The versatile landing craft style vessels — one 28′ and the other 26′ — are equipped to handle a wide range of emergency response scenarios.

The fireboats are each outfitted with twin 300-hp Mercury Verado outboard engines and include the Skyhook Digital Anchor and Joystick Piloting systems. Both boats feature a 1,500-gpm Darley pump (powered by a dedicated V-8 engine) along with a TFT monitor and three discharge ports. The boats include a 63″ hydraulically operated bow door (with an integrated ladder), dual dive doors, a davit crane with twin socket locations, and a full width T-top pilothouse. The onboard electronics include dual 12″ touchscreens mounted on the dash, Garmin radar and sonar with SideVu and DownVu, chart plotting, and a forward looking infrared (FLIR) system. Lake Assault provided three days of on-the-water orientation before the boats were put into service.

“Having two of our boats on duty with the San Bernardino County Fire Department is an honor,” Chad DuMars, Lake Assault Boats vice president of operations said in a prepared statement. “This is a highly regarded department that is charged with serving a very large and diverse fire protection district, and we are proud to help enhance their on-the-water emergency response capabilities.”

The 28′ craft is stationed in Needles, Calif., and operates on the Colorado River. “This boat serves multiple purposes along a vitally important stretch of the river; we can directly fight fire or support ground-based operations, and it has comprehensive dive and rescue capabilities,” explained Brian Wells, engineer with the San Bernardino County Fire Department.  “It also is designed to serve as a wildland team personnel carrier and ATV transport, addressing just about any emergency scenario that we encounter along the river.”

The 26′ boat provides protection to resources along Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake. “This mountainous region has a history of wildfires, and one of our unique challenges is protecting the many large houses that are close to shore but inaccessible by road,” said Wells. “We can station this boat at the backside of the house and use our deck monitor, or draft from the lake and take hose lines up to the fire scene. We can also lay hose lines to support land based fire apparatus.”

“We first learned about Lake Assault through another fire department in the Tahoe area, and a couple of our guys flew up there to check it out,” said Wells. “When we started looking into their build quality, and ability to customize to meet our department’s requirements, they floated to the top of our list. We have come to learn that they are a first-class builder, and I would recommend Lake Assault to anybody.”

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