MECHANICSBURG – In 2016, Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS will take ownership of a new squad and new SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatuses) after the village council on Monday approved the purchases, both of which will be primarily funded through grant money.
Throughout 2015, council expressed the need to purchase a new squad due to the age and condition of the department’s fleet, which consists of a 1999 Ford squad and a 1995 International squad.
In January, the Ford was forced out of commission due to engine and wiring issues, and it remains out of service. The International has been in the shop several times throughout the year for various reasons, which forced the department to borrow loaner squads at different times from area departments like the Madison County Emergency Medical District and the Urbana Fire Division.
In hopes of rectifying the issue, council signed off on purchasing a 2016 International Harvester 4300 chassis outfitted with a 170-inch patient module for $212,714 from McCoy Miller of Winter Park, Florida.
“This is a medium duty truck, which nowadays is comparable to the medic we are replacing,” Fire Chief Bob Keene said, adding the 1995 International was purchased from McCoy Miller.
A large portion of the cost of the new squad, expected to be delivered by June 1, is being funded by a $143,524 grant awarded to Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS earlier this year through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.
Fiscal Officer Dan Eck said the remaining $69,190 will be financed through a five-year loan, and the payments will be made using funds generated through the 5-year, 2.5-mill levy that voters passed in November for the replacement of fire and EMS vehicles.
Keene added that as part of the grant requirements, the village must sell the 1995 International as a non-emergency vehicle once it takes ownership of the new squad. He also stated the department is looking into purchasing a new or used backup squad in the near future to replace the 1995 Ford.
SCBAs, thermal imaging camera
In other matters relating to Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS, council approved the purchase of 21 Scott Safety SCBAs or air packs from Warren Fire Equipment in Warren, at a cost of $120,624. Along with the air packs, the purchase includes 28 face pieces, 28 voice amplifiers and 42 air supply bottles.
“It was the lowest of the three bids we received and the one we wanted to go with,” Keene said, noting the department expects to receive the air packs within four to six weeks.
Ninety-five percent of the total cost is being covered through a grant the department received earlier this year through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program. As stipulated in the grant, the village is responsible for a 5 percent match, which comes out to be $6,031.20.
Keene also informed council that Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS recently received a grant from Firehouse Subs on Hilliard Rome Road in Columbus for a new thermal imaging camera.
“It’s an $11,000 item, and we put it into service last Thursday night,” he said.
In other business:
•In response to an issue at the Mechanicsburg Sewer Plant, council passed a motion allowing Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis to purchase two actuators at a cost of $5,300 each.
Huggins-Davis said that during the Sewer Plant Project, which is nearing completion, two valves were replaced and worked about six months before an issue arose two weeks ago.
“They are not closing all the way, which is causing issues with the operation of the plant,” she said. “The original valves and actuators have been on there for about 29 years and they worked fine, so the engineering company went with the same type of valve and the same size actuator. For some reason, the one valve on tank one is not closing at all, and we’ve been bypassing to the lagoon for about two weeks.
“The solution that the company came up with is we need a stronger actuator with more torque on it to go ahead and close that valve so it will seal off,” she said, adding the new actuator for tank one should arrive within a week.
To keep the plant properly functioning, Huggins-Davis said, the old actuator and valve have been put back on tank one until the new actuator is delivered.
“It’s been functioning like it should, and the plant has been running,” she said.
•Council was informed the village’s 1992 Chevrolet heavy duty truck chassis (snow plow) will soon need to be replaced.
“Basically, the truck is worn out,” Huggins-Davis said. “It’s been a good truck, but it’s getting near the end of its useful life. I don’t know if it will make it through the season. Hopefully, we will have a mild winter and not much snow.”
According to Huggins-Davis, when the village decides to move forward with the purchase of a new truck and up-kit package, it will likely run about $75,000.
“The trucks themselves are about $45,000 for just the chassis, and it’s about $30,000 for the up-kit (stainless steel aluminum bed, snow plow with controls and spreader),” she said.