Last week we discussed our ISO review and what we were planning to do with that information so that we can improve our department. The first part were the improvements to training which we’ve undertaken. This week we will discuss the equipment portion of that review. The biggest thing we were found to be missing in our equipment was a second engine or pumper. The specifications to which Engine 67 was built 37 years ago and time have left this truck with severe deficiencies. NFPA stands for the National Fire Protection Association. This is an organization that creates and maintains the regulations for the fire service. They cover everything associated with the fire service from training and HR requirements to gear and equipment regulations. This organization sets the national standard to which all fire departments try to comply.
Engine 66 is our first out fire engine. This truck was put into service back in 1999. Currently it meets all of the minimum criteria for a working engine and has done a great job serving this community. When we purchased Engine 66 we did all of our homework. We successfully anticipated many of the changing requirements and were able to purchase this engine with the specifications that keep it in good standing with NFPA. The average life span of Fire Apparatus is 10-20 years. We have been able to maintain all of our trucks and equipment for longer than that. Engine 66 is a prime example it is coming up on that 20 year mark and it remains a strong engine that consistently meets our needs within the community. This makes it a perfect truck to become a second engine for fire operations. With it’s strong marks in pump testing, equipment, and water tank Engine 66 will give us a highly rated second out engine. This will improve our ISO scores and provide better protection to the community.
Engine 67 until recently remained a good truck for our use. For the last few years it has been grandfathered in, so to speak, for some of the requirements. One of the big issues with this truck is a safety problem due to it’s design. It has an open cab which means that any firefighters responding to a call in this truck aside from the driver and passenger are seated behind the cab of the truck in a couple of seats with only a couple of metal bars and seatbelts holding them in place. The change to remove these open cab designs came about in 1991. It also allowed for any apparatus built prior to that to remain NFPA compliant for the next 10 years. With the plan of having those vehicles phased out of service.
Unfortunately, the cab design of this vehicle is not the only place in which this truck has fallen behind. Due to it’s age both the pump and water tank on this vehicle have begun to fail. These failures have relegated the truck to become simply a people mover. This is a truck that we take out when there are no other trucks available to get to a scene. We have reviewed our options in regards to potentially repairing these, but with it’s age can no longer find the parts needed to fix it. With all of these factors in play we have decided that it is in the best interest of the department and the community that we replace this truck with a new one.
You may wonder why we have decided to purchase a brand new engine instead of getting a used one at a lower cost. The short answer is that new is better. With the purchase of a new engine we work directly with the manufacturer. This allows us to ensure that the engine we purchase meets all of the unique requirements of our community. As we work within a rural community we have limited access to fire hydrants and require specialized equipment and pumps to be able to draw water from the sources that we have available. We also get to configure our compartments so that we can ensure that all of our tools will fit where we need them. This enables us to get the right equipment to the scene of your emergency the first time. Finally, though most departments will take care of their equipment you never truly know how that truck was maintained or why they have decided to sell it. We feel that for the community it is best if we purchase a truck that we can customize to the specifications needed to handle the unique challenges that North Jackson, Ohio provides.