Peoria Fire preps for Fourth of July at Lake Pleasant with fire rescue boat

Jul 1, 2021, 4:45 AM | Updated: 11:29 am
(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)...
(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)
(KTAR News Photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX – An estimated 30,000 people are expected to celebrate at Lake Pleasant this Fourth of July weekend and the Peoria Fire Department is getting ready for the rush with their new boat.

With more lake goers than ever expected this year –after last year’s fireworks were canceled– they have been training for the crowds and have set up an incident command center.

Peoria Fire Captain Robert Hawkins described what the holiday has brought in the past.

He said, “It’s pretty rowdy, a lot of people on the lake, a lot of people drinking alcohol.”

But they are not just responsible for the folks on the lake.

Peoria firefighters have to be ready for anything and everything, responding to emergencies on both land and water near their fire station located inside Lake Pleasant’s Harbor Marina.

Hawkins described responding to 911 calls on Carefree Highway, Castle Hot Springs Road, and up to Quintero Golf Club.

“We can be on the water and we can receive a dispatch emergency call and we’ve got to go ahead and bring the boat in and get on the right apparatus and head out there,” Hawkins said.

With additional resources brought in for the holiday weekend, Hawkins’ crew is focused mostly on water operations this Independence Day.

Those water operations will be performed on their new 30-foot-long Munson fire boat that has several safety features.

The new boat allows them to perform water rescues more quickly and easily as the front of the boat bows down into the water.

During KTAR News’ ride-along with the crew, firefighters performed a water rescue training.

Crew members demonstrated the different types of communication they use to ensure the boat operator knows where they are swimming but also to ensure the victim knows they are there to save them.

Peoria fire’s boat can hold up to 12 patients and has an increase fuel capacity, meaning the boat’s can stay on the water longer and reach up to nearly 50 mph.

Although the boat is more focused on rescue capabilities, it also has fire suppression features including a mounted hose that can spray 1,000 gallons of water a minute and 150 feet of hose on board so they can respond to a fire on land if needed.

Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, Peoria Fire has planned to bring in additional crew members to have a total of 16 firefighters and paramedics mobilized on and near lake to better respond to emergencies this weekend.

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Peoria Fire preps for Fourth of July at Lake Pleasant with fire rescue boat