Snoqualmie Fire Department to replace aging engine

The new engine was built to reduce firefighters’ exposure to harmful chemicals.

Snoqualmie Fire Chief Mike Bailey mentioned the department’s anticipation of a brand new 2024 KME fire engine during the recent Snoqualmie State of the City address video.

One of the department’s current in-use engines — a 2003 American LaFrance engine — is reaching the end of its service years, according to standards set by the National Fire Prevention Agency.

Those standards recommend a 20-year service for engines — the first 10 years spent as the main apparatus and the remaining in reserves as the second-run, backup engine.

The new engine, built by the fire truck manufacturer KME, was purchased following the $1,015,000 budget approval by the Snoqualmie City Council in 2022. It features a “clean cab” design aimed at reducing firefighters’ exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, Bailey said.

“All firefighting equipment and bunker gear will be kept out of the cab and in outside compartments,” he said. “This will keep the cancer-causing carcinogens that are present in the products of combustion away from the firefighters.”

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are often used in firefighting foam and the middle moisture barrier of firefighter gear to make the uniforms breathable and protect firefighters from heat stress, which helps firefighters meet the National Fire Protection Association criteria for resistance to heat and water, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

While PFAS concentration can vary between equipment manufacturers, firefighters nationwide have a 9% higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14% higher risk of dying from cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Departments across the country have taken steps to reduce these odds, with San Francisco aimed at becoming the first city to ban firefighting clothing containing PFAS in the coming weeks, according to NBC.

Snoqualmie’s “clean cab” is expected to arrive in August or September. In addition to the reduction of exposure to chemicals, the new engine will improve reliability and ensure timely responses to emergencies, Bailey said.