A new rescue response agreement between the City of Jacksonville and a major employer was signed into effect this week.
Members of the Jacksonville Fire Department and Nestle of Jacksonville met Thursday morning to finalize the renewal of a long standing partnership between the Nestle plant and the City of Jacksonville, which includes a donation by Nestle of upgraded equipment for the fire department.
Fire Chief Doug Sills says the agreement has been in place for a number of years, and some of the equipment is near the end of it’s serviceable life. The equipment including safety harnesses and climbing rope, was provided in a muti-company agreement approximately 20 years ago with Nestle, Mobil Chemical, which is now Reynolds Consumer Products, and the now closed A.C. Humko.
Safety Manager for the Nestle plant, Stephen Weilbacher says Nestle is very lucky to have a great relationship with the City of Jacksonville, especially with the Fire Department and the services they provide.
“We’ve had a long standing agreement for them to provide rescue service especially when we are doing confined space entry out there for clean ups. I happened to get a call from Matt (Summers) and we realized the agreement that has been in place for over ten years was really out of date.
And we we really need to bring that up to date and make it more formal where we partner more closely together with the fire department, making sure that we are providing them with the equipment they need for some of the unique entries out at Nestle.
So that’s what we are here for today. To show that great working relationship and they can go ahead and get some of that equipment that they will need for use out at the factory.”
Nestle will be donating approximately $15,000 worth of equipment in the new working agreement, which will be revisited now every five years.
Fire Department Captain Matt Summers says the Jacksonville Fire Department is the on call technical rescue team for the plant. Summers says anytime Nestle performs confined space cleaning or work, they are required to have an on call team at the ready.
Summers says the Jacksonville Fire Department serves as the Tech Rescue Team, not just for Nestle, but all of Morgan County and in some instances, for smaller surrounding counties that do not have the ability.
He says the updated equipment will help ensure the department can continue to provide those services throughout their call area.
“With the partnership with Nestle we want to be able to be the most prepared with the most up to date and best technology available, and that’s what they are assisting us in doing. Obviously our responsibility is to all the citizens of Jacksonville and the surrounding area.
You know we have more and more things coming into our area all the time with the grain silos, the windmills might be coming, and those are all very complicated technical rescue possibilities that we need to be prepared for so, it’s just one more thing that helps us to be prepared.”
Joe Rechtiene Factory Manger of the Jacksonville Nestle Plant, and Jacksonville Fire Chief Doug Sills signed the agreement at the Fire Station Thursday. Also in attendance was Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard.