Windstorm Preparations
After watching Homewood fire fighters struggle to move large trees from the roadways to gain access for emergency vehicles in a post-storm emergency, Mayor Scott McBrayer re-assigned one of the City’s surplus BobCat skid steer loaders to the Fire Department for exclusive use during an emergency. “With the BobCat loader available to push downed trees out of the road, fire fighters will have much quicker access to areas that are cut off due to storm damage” says Mayor McBrayer.

Homewood Fleet Maintenance refurbished the BobCat, bringing the machine to a mechanically sound state. In addition, fire fighters have worked diligently to adapt the diesel powered loader for fire and rescue work. A log grapple bucket for the loader was acquired at no cost to the City. Fire Department members have also re-painted the machine and welded on modifications in preparation for storm scene work.

Training for fire fighters on the operation of the BobCat has been conducted at Burford’s Wood Waste Recycling facility on Shannon Road. “We have developed communication systems and operation procedures that will allow us to safely utilize the loader in the chaotic conditions that exist in the wake of a storm” says Fire Medic Brett Ashworth, lead BobCat instructor.

“Rescue of victims in a storm aftermath cannot take place if our fire fighters and equipment are unable to reach the scene. The BobCat loader will be kept on a heavy equipment transport trailer and housed at Fire Station 1, ready for rapid deployment. We now have the ability to expedite road clearing for emergency access” adds Fire Chief John Bresnan.