The Liberty Township Fire Department has found ways to update aging fire equipment to better serve the community and remain fiscally responsible.
Trustees approved $455,403 on Oct. 17 to purchase a 2016 pumper fire engine from the Sutphen Corporation to replace the current 1998 engine at Station 322 on Sawmill Parkway.
“When I arrived we had a couple engines that were down,” said interim Fire Chief William Fields. “Chief (Tim) Jensen was given the go-ahead for $550,000 to find a new engine.”
Fields said a committee was formed to work through the process of finding an engine to replace the 18-year-old model. “They did one fantastic job,” Fields said about the committee. “They brought the project in almost $100,000 under budget and we got everything we wanted.”
Lieutenant Ben Lovell added to his chief’s comment of getting everything by saying, “Hopefully when the new truck pulls in here all we’ll have to do is load some hose on it and it will be ready to go.”
According to Battalion Chief Duane Price, Lovell wasn’t far off about just loading the truck with a hose. The department took delivery of the vehicle on Dec. 19 and placed it into service Dec. 21. The first day it made four runs and has been busy ever since, according to Price.
In September the department was awarded a grant for $118,446 to purchase power load EMS cots by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the Assistance to Firefighters grant program. The grant was written by Mickey Smith, paramedic, firefighter for the township fire department.
When the grant was awarded, Smith told trustees that power load cots reduce the risk of “back injuries” which in turn reduces “Bureau of Workman’s Compensation claims.”
Smith said the department is expecting the cots to be delivered in “about 10 weeks.”
Lieutenant Tom Saunders, fire prevention officer, was awarded a grant of $870 from the Delaware County Foundation for Knox-Boxes. “The $870 will pay for five boxes,” Saunders said.
Saunders said, the box hangs over a door containing a key allowing first responders rapid access into a building. “If we get a medical emergency call, we can get the key out to open the door.”
Saunders said there is no fee to the resident to get a Knox-Box. “It’s covered by the Special Needs Program in Delaware County,” he said.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.