Winnipeg fire service’s new tanker trucks could help hundreds of homeowners save on insurance

“Accredited superior tanker shuttle service” sounds like a mouthful, but a new certification for the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service could help approximately 700 residents south of the Perimeter Highway see substantial savings on their home insurance.

The fire-paramedic service has added two tanker trucks to its fleet of vehicles at south Winnipeg stations, which will allow fire crews to transport thousands of litres of water several kilometres past the nearest hydrant.

The water is transferred from the tankers at high speed and into a portable pool. Pumper trucks at a fire scene then draw the water out of the pool and spray it on the fire.

The tankers shuttle back and forth to the nearest hydrant to keep the pool full and water capacity at nationally set standards.

The WFPS received the “superior tanker shuttle service” certification from the Canada’s Fire Underwriters Survey — a national organization that provides data on public fire protection for underwriting purposes —  just a few weeks ago.

The fire-paramedic service was able to show through testing and documentation it can “continuously provide water supplies in excess of the minimum required for hydranted municipal-type water supplies.”

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Chief John Lane isn’t sure how much homeowners will save on their insurance, but says it could be ‘substantial.’ (Travis Golby/CBC)

Because the organization says the accredited tanker service “is a recognized equivalency to hydrant protection,” it will definitely have an impact on how much hundreds of homeowners pay for insurance, said WFPS Chief John Lane, though he couldn’t give an estimate on exactly how much.

“It depends on the individual insurance company and, of course, it depends on the size of the original policy. But I have seen one in particular where the discount was very substantial,” Lane told CBC News. 

The two tanker trucks, which are stationed at fire halls on Dalhousie Drive and Waverley Street, cost approximately $300,000 each and were purchased from Acres Industries in Wawanesa.

Lane hopes the service will be in a position to acquire at least two more tankers and extend similar fire protection to “all four corners of the city” not currently serviced by hydrants.

The WFPS hopes to extend the ‘superior tanker shuttle service’ to other corners of the city in the future. (Submitted by the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service)

For now, Lane says, adding the southern portion of the city past the perimeter is good for residents and for the morale of his fire crews.

“I’m thrilled. It’s great to finally be able to offer this to those citizens who live outside of the water district. We’ve talked about this for some time.”

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