There was an emergency. There was despair. There was a house on fire. The owners called 9-1-1 for help. But instead of the sirens of the big fire trucks, the first responders were riding two specially equipped motorcycles now part of the Cuerpo de Bomberos (Costa Rica’s Fire Department).
The motos can reach the scene of a fire in half the time of the normal 15 minutes or more it takes the big trucks. They can weave through the congestion, the traffic messed up streets of San Jose.
In the barrio Lopez Mateo fire, on the south side of San Jose, the quick response meant only 10% of the house was damaged by the flames, according to Bomberos fire chief, Hector Chaves.
The Bomberos acquired the 4 motorbikes late last year, brought in from Germany, at an investment of ¢100 million colones, that included the cost of retrofitting them for use in Costa Rica and the personnel training.
The BMW model bikes are exclusively designed for firefighting. The 2017 model year are equipped with a 1200 cc engine and carries 50 liters of water for a continuous discharge at 300 psi, a 30 meters of hose, specially designed frame, 2 electrical systems (emergency and motor systems), and high power brakes (double disc), among other features.
But the most important feature is their ability to weave through San Jose traffic congestion that is the major concern everytime the fire trucks leave the station.