What's big and red and spotted all around New London? It's the brand new fire truck just purchased by the community's fire district.
It's also one of a new, better breed of fire truck, with all the modern bells and whistles including better lights to help see in the dark, more storage for tools like the jaws of life and an updated pumping system.
"Our old truck was 20 years old, so after 20 years we're not allowed to have that insured for firefighting purposes," said John MacIsaac, a firefighter and the vice president of the New London Fire Company board of directors.
The new truck will allow the fire department to continue fire coverage for the eight communities — 2100 properties — it serves.
"And as well enhance the services with some of the new capabilities of the new truck," added MacIsaac, noting all firefighters in New London are volunteers.
"It is easier to run in that the truck looks after a lot issues that the operator had to look after and keep an eye on before," said the department's captain Scott Cole.
Here are some of the benefits:
1. Bigger, computerized water tank
Upgrades include more automation, more seats, and a bigger water tank that can pump out almost 4,000 litres — or 1,000 gallons — per minute.
"This is the biggest part of the update on this truck," said Cole, pointing to the computerized panel that controls the pump speed.
"The old truck we would have a mechanical pressure relief valve... you had to be constantly watching it."
2. 'Foam is there'
Foam, which is used on fuel and vehicle fires, is easier to access with the truck's new computerized foam controls.
"Somebody calls for foam, foam is there," said Cole. It puts a fire out faster and keeps it down.
3. Hands-free communication
The captain was also excited to show off the truck's new hands-free communication equipment.
"On our older truck we'd be grabbing a mic to talk into radios or yelling across people in the truck trying to talk as we're going to a scene," said Cole. "The new truck has wireless headsets."
4. Better lighting
"We have a command-scene light that comes up so it lights up the fire ground better, safer at night," Cole explained, pointing to the front of the truck.
5. Better storage
"I can keep everything in one area, so you're not going from one compartment to the next," said Allen Cole, the fire chief. Rescue tools like cutters, spreaders, stabilizers, and airbags are all in one place.
Even though they're already driving it, the New London Fire Company hasn't finished fundraising for the pumper yet. They've received about $100,000 for the truck and are still trying to drum up a remaining $300,000.
"We're all just ecstatic for what it's going to mean for the community," said MacIsaac.