South Jacksonville Fire Chief Richard Evans reported on equipment needs and status of repairs for the department to the South Jacksonville Committee of the Whole last night.
Evans updated the board on estimated costs for new extrication equipment for the department. Something that Evans says will save time and space in the long run.
“We are looking to upgrade our extrication tools, we want to move from our hydraulic Hurst tools, to a battery operated system. It will free up space on our vehicles, and they are quicker for us to operate with them, and also we will not have the additional equipment added to them with the hoses and other additional parts. It will be a good upgrade for us.”
$43,000.00 has been budgeted for the equipment, Evans said that he has been working with three separate companies for estimates, and he expects the final costs to come in under the budgeted amount.
Evans also gave an update on repairs needed after fire engine 1112 failed to pass a required pump test recently. Evans said that although the repairs needed were routine in nature, the department will explore costs to replace the truck, but not solely due to the pump test.
“We are wanting to update that vehicle because it is getting close to the 20 years old mark. It wasn’t a huge issue by any means that it didn’t pass the pump test, it was just a couple of minor discharge valves that were leaking. But it is just part of the vehicle replacement plan that we are looking at. We typically try at around 20 years to replace some of our equipment. So we are going to start looking into that ans start planning for the future.”
Evans said that the possible replacement of the fire engine is part of a larger goal in the replacement plan to help streamline the department.
“As we look into this vehicle replacement plan, we would like to replace two big rigs with one big rig and one small medical unit just to run our medical calls on, so we are looking into options for those. It will be a process, but we are ready to get moving on it here within the next year or two.”
Evans said the long term hopes are to have one ladder truck they can run both fire and medical calls with as needed, and acquire a smaller truck that is easier and more cost effective to run medical emergency only calls in. The smaller truck could also be used as a support vehicle during fire calls as well.
The department has three vehicles that are nearing the 20 plus year marks within the next five years.
Evans also updated the committee on repairs needed to the radiator of the ladder truck. Evans said that estimates for a new radiator would cost $8,000.00 to $9,000.000, and a rebuilt unit would be in the neighborhood of $4,000.00 to purchase. A local mechanic has been found who bid to rebuild the existing unit for less than the rebuilt radiator purchase. The current one would be outsourced to Springfield for the repairs. The South Jacksonville Fire Department will have to notify the Jacksonville Fire Department for possible support during fire calls, while the ladder truck is out of service.