The Putnam County Fire Department, located midway between Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia, has purchased two identical Lake Assault Boats craft scheduled for delivery late this year. The vessels will assist the department in providing fire suppression and emergency response services on Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair, as well as on the land surrounding both.
“Our department protects 185 miles of shoreline, which includes hydropower facilities, single family homes, vacations homes, and secluded neighborhoods that are not served by fire hydrants,” Fire Chief Thomas McClain of the Putnam County Fire Department, said. “Among their many capabilities, these new fireboats can quickly supply lake water to ground-based firefighting apparatus and will significantly enhance our department’s emergency response capabilities.”
The 26-ft. long fireboats feature a landing craft style, modified V-hull design with a 63-in. hydraulically operated bow door capable of transporting ATVs. The craft are powered by twin 225 hp Yamaha outboard engines, and include a 1,250-gpm fire pump driven by a marinized V-6 engine. The deck mounted monitor is rated at 1,250 gpm and incorporates a gated 2.5-inch discharge port. Other features include fore and aft storage compartments and three automatic bilge pumps.
The T-top pilothouse folds forward to allow for clearance under low bridges. Its componentry includes an overhead rack housing two emergency radios. The dash console features a 12-in. touchscreen that controls forward looking infrared (FLIR), sonar with SideVu and DownVu, chartplotting, and GPS.
“When I became chief two years ago, we took a close look at our on-the-water response capabilities, as its been a challenge for us,” Chief McClain said. “We did our homework and researched the industry. We also met with other departments in the region that are using Lake Assault Boats craft, asked questions, and got an up close look at them in action. Most importantly, our community stepped up and passed a referendum to support the purchase through a Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax."
The Putnam County Fire Department is a combination volunteer and career organization. The department’s protection area consists of 345 square miles and it operates 10 fire stations.