In 2018, Liberty Township Fire Chief Thomas O’Brien presented a proposal for a new fire engine designed in-house by a committee of department firefighter/paramedics that came with a projected price tag of $700,000.
On Thursday, the department took delivery on a new Sutphen fire engine that came in under budget at approximately $617,000.
O’Brien gave all the credit for the design of the new engine to the committee, which consisted of Scott Young, Sean Worly, Dave White and Kenny Hambrick. He said it was more equipped and job-specific than the 10-year-old engine it’s replacing.
“The committee did a great job on the design,” he said. “They designed a truck that meets all the things we do. It has everything for first responders, and it is user-friendly.”
Opening up the compartments of the engine, O’Brien slid out the racks that displayed tools on both sides, creating better access and saving precious moments in a life-threatening rescue. One compartment he opened contained battery-powered tools that hang on a rotating rack much like a lazy Susan.
“You don’t have to move anything to get to something,” he said. “The battery-powered tools eliminate trip hazards, and since we’re no longer using cords running from the truck to power them, we can go anywhere.”
O’Brien said the new power tools were purchased with a $42,000 grant from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. He said the cords of the old tools only allowed them to travel as far as their length.
On the old engine, O’Brien said everything was stored in compartments up high that had the potential to cause injury to personnel when on a run. He pointed out that all the compartments are eye level or lower, reducing the possibility for crew injuries.
Walking to the front of the engine, O’Brien pointed out the controls for the winch were no longer tethered. Instead, it has a remote so the first responders working on a rescue can directly control it from the scene of the incident. He said it reduces the possibility of injury on the scene.
O’Brien added since the engine was built by Sutphen, located in Dublin, Hillard and Urbana, they got to watch it being built. He said the best part about it was if changes were needed, they could make them.
Young, who was helping train other firefighter/paramedics on the pumper — yes, it is a pumper truck as well — pointed to the wording above the side doors of the cabin. In large black lettering was the word “Paramedic.”
“It is a first responder,” he said.
Etched on the windows of those same doors is the department’s insignia. Young said through the kindness of CNS Engraving, Powell, the artwork and the etching were all donated to the department.
The engine also features a set of LED lights that can be rotated in either direction to light night rescues.
“They are really bright,” O’Brien said.
By Friday morning, the new engine had already been pressed into service by preforming three runs the night before.