Middletown – A generous donation from The South Lake Fire Sirens Auxiliary Group has allowed South Lake County Fire Protection District to order two new generation portable dip tanks known as HeloPod’s. The HeloPod is a groundbreaking product manufactured in Simi Valley, California, designed and built as a mobile Helicopter Dip Tank and Cistern for large helicopters. This game- changing tool helps get a water dip site set up quickly during an incident. With the quick set-up, firefighters will only need to connect the hoses to the hydrant, then helicopters are ready to start pulling water from it, while still hovering, greatly reducing turnaround times.
South Lake County Fire joins San Diego County Fire and Riverside County Fire deploying these HeloPod’s in their areas. Other departments include but are not limited to Los Angeles County Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire, and Orange County Fire. Soon to follow is another leader in northern California – the Northern Sonoma County Fire District. With the new CAL FIREHAWK, while much more fire capable, water sources can be more challenging to find. The HeloPod builds on the broader goal for the South Lake Fire Protection District to improve our community’s fire readiness and capabilities. This first started with “Operation Force Multiplier.” A region-first program that has put firefighting tools and extinguishers in the hands of our residents. The second was the purchase of Engine 6061, South Lake County Fire’s new Type 6 Wildland Firefighting Engine. Engine 6061 is smaller, lighter, faster, and more capable for off-road use. Regarding the HeloPod, Assistant Fire Chief Paul Duncan has said, “Our Team here at South Lake County Fire has been researching this new type of resource for a few years. When the opportunity presented itself, our research was already done. And with a special thanks to the South Lake Fire Sirens, we were able to do the right thing, increasing the safety of our communities.”
Two HeloPods will be delivered on August 18, 2022. One will be placed within the Middletown Area, and the other in the Cobb area. South Lake County Fire is collaborating with the Cobb Water District and the Callayomi County Water District to supply water to the tanks and local property owners for the locations to place them. These locations have been chosen for the first locations to help spread water availability throughout the fire district. Our Hidden Valley area already has the community Lake as a water source. Carol Olsen, who runs the Thrift Shop for the Fire Sirens, said, “It is our group’s passion and drive to support our Firefighters. We are just thrilled to be able to fund this critical purchase to support the communities in our Fire District”.
South Lake Fire Protection District as well as the CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit is excited to have these game changing tools located within our responsibility areas. For more information about the HeloPods visit the following links provided by PumpPodUSA below, or please feel free to contact South Lake County Fire Protection District.