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Fire department will gain multi-use vehicle

By Nicole Kleinsteuber
Prince Edward County council agreed to redistribute $35,750 earmarked for a new $65,000 fire rescue van to put it toward a multi-use “grass” truck.

Fire chief Scott Manlow asked council to reallocate the funds as a replacement for the 30-year-old truck would serve multiple purposes.

“We want to use it as a multi-use vehicle,” said Manlow.  “We want this vehicle to be able to run first response out of Hallowell. Right now a 30-year-old truck doesn’t allow that luxury. The grass truck is such a unique vehicle the way it can go off road and do what we need to do,” said Manlow.  “It’s the only one we have.”

In a report to council Manlow said the truck’s configuration and design allows fire rescue teams to respond to grass and brush fires.  The truck can provide tanker refilling at remote water locations and respond to medical assist calls.  The report says using this vehicle to respond to medical assist calls will reduce response wait times as well as reduce fuel and repair maintenance costs for the larger rescue vans.

“If we reallocate this money toward a grass fire truck, what would be your plan for purchasing a rescue van?” asked councillor Bev Campbell.

“We’re going through master fire planning and through analyzing better use of our vehicles, we may be able to shuffle some vehicles around,” answered Manlow, noting the rescue van to be replaced is 23-years-old.

Manlow’s report states the fire department had applied for the remainder of the $65,000 through the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEEP) but the application was unsuccessful. He said the JEPP looks after other issues like the generator and communications and “They look at it as the municipality’s responsibility to purchase the rescue vans.”

“Do you feel the current grass fire truck is adequate for our needs until the next budget is set?” asked councillor Barb Proctor.

“It’s road-worthy, but a 30-year-old truck could break down tomorrow,” answered Manlow.

The estimated cost of materials to manufacture the rear section and outfit the truck with the necessary equipment is estimated at $15,000; the remaining $20,750 will be designated to the purchase of a used cab and chassis said Manlow in his report.

Councillor Terry Shortt agreed with the Manlow’s plan to purchase used parts.

“The idea of using used parts where possible as long as they’re good used parts is simply good savings and good use of money,” said Shortt.  “I have no problem with the purchase of a grass fire truck.  I think it’s money well spent.”

In other news, thanks to funding under the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program, Mallory Fire Hall facility at 126 County Road 32 now has a new telecommunication system and back-up
electricity generation for use in the event of an emergency.
The County Emergency Plan designates Mallory Fire Hall Facility as its Alternate Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), with Shire Hall as the main EOC. Thanks to the new telecommunications system, in the event of a declared emergency the Alternate Emergency Operation Centre will be able to communicate with employees, the media, the public and all agencies involved.
The new generator will enable full emergency co-ordinations to continue in the event of a power
interruption. Should an emergency occur in the urban area of Picton, or a neighbouring municipality, the Mallory Fire Hall Facility location would be made available with all the necessary components of an operable EOC. The project is also necessary for compliance with the requirements of Emergency Measures Ontario.
The cost of the new telecommunication system was $11,934.00 with funding from the federal
government of $5,370.30.
The cost of the generator was $13,068 with funding from the Federal Government of $5,880.60.

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