Louisville Fire Newsroom

Mayor, Congressman, Chief Unveil New Fire Boat

Tuesday September 7, 2010

State-of-the-art boat will aid water rescues and firefighting on the river

Mayor Jerry Abramson, Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick and U.S. Representative John Yarmuth, (KY-3) this morning unveiled the Louisville Fire Department’s new Fire and Rescue Boat.

The state-of-the art boat is equipped to handle dive rescue, firefighting and water rescue operations. The vessel is more efficient on the river than LFD’s older boat, allowing crews to respond more quickly to emergencies.

“We’ve been committed to equipping our firefighters with the best tools and facilities to modernize our fire department and to keep our citizens safe,” Abramson said. “This new boat is part of that commitment.”

The new boat cost $400,000, with 75-percent of the funding coming from federal homeland security grant money through Port Security and the Urban Area Security Initiative. The rest of the funding was through matching funds from the Louisville Fire Department’s fleet depreciation fund.

“Louisville’s transportation network is a critical part of our local economy, and we have to ensure our waterways are as safe as possible,” Yarmuth said. “I am thrilled these federal dollars will be invested in a fire boat to help ensure that millions of tons of goods can be safety shipped up and down the Ohio River, while also protecting Louisville’s hundreds of recreational boaters.”

Some of the boat’s features include a removable side panel for easy access for water rescues, electronic pump and valve controls for easy operation, LED lighting in cabin, on deck and at water level to provide light for divers and firefighters. It also has the capacity to pump water to shore-based units to fight fires along the river. It can pump as much as 2000 gallons per minute, powered by an independent V-8 engine.

“Increasing activity on the Ohio River creates a greater need for emergency response to rescues, fires, and hazardous materials incidents,” Frederick said. “The new Fire & Rescue Boat provides us with the speed for quick response, the convenience of modern control systems, and the water pumping capabilities to handle those emergencies.”

The boat has been on the water for about two weeks for training sessions. It already proved valuable the weekend of the Ford Ironman competition. During a practice swim, crews were on-hand to assist a distressed swimmer.

The boat was custom built for LFD just across the river at Kentuckiana Yacht Sales in Jeffersonville, Indiana. It has become a model for other fire departments across the state.