Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Pumper Added to Easton Fire Department Fleet

By Christina Georgiou

The Easton Fire Department recently took delivery of a new pumper, which will replace a pumper that has served the city since 1985.

The new truck, a Spartan ERV "Transformer", is a state-of-the-art piece of fire fighting machinery, said Deputy Fire Chief John Price Tuesday evening.

It carries 500 gallons of water and is rated to pump 1,500 gallons of water per minute.

Price said the vehicle was customized to specifications specifically to meet Easton's needs, and is able to easily maneuver on some of the city's older, more narrow streets and alleys, along with the ability to be housed at the Southside fire station.

"This pumper will fit into the Southside fire station, which was designed for horse-drawn steam pumps," Price said.

"The Transformer" also features remotely controlled high-intensity lights mounted on the top of the truck, and also a high-tech traffic control device that pops out of the top of the vehicle, that will help direct motorists at emergency scenes.

The custom features of the new fire and rescue truck were designed with suggestions from all members of the Easton Fire Department, Price said.

"We took input from all the guys and asked them what they thought we needed most," Price said. "So it's not just like the guys at the top said, 'Here, this is what you're getting.'"

The life-expectancy of the new $504,000 pumper is about 25 years, but the city may not keep it all that time, said City Administrator Glenn Steckman.

"The truck this replaces is 27 years old. But we're hoping to cycle equipment more often than that in the future," Steckman said.

He explained that while the city has specific needs due to the multi-story buildings and urban environment, fire departments in other areas often don't need as up-to-date equipment and are happy to buy good used equipment.

"Ideally, we'd like to sell before all (a truck is) worth is scrap value," he said.

If such a system is managed well, the city could save some money while operating better, newer equipment at all times, Steckman said
City firefighters are training on all aspects of the new vehicle, and it's expected to be put into official service near the end of the month when that training is complete and the last of the new gear that the truck will carry arrives.

The EFD will also be getting new radios for the entire department before the end of the year, due to federal requirements requiring an upgrade.
Some of the cost will be covered by a FEMA grant, but about 50 percent of the city's request for funding was denied by the federal agency, Price said, leaving Easton to pick up the remainder of the tab.

Easton will need three new base station radios, six new truck radios and 42 portable units to be in compliance with the new requirements,  the deputy chief said.

The money for the portion of the radios' funding that is not being paid for by grant money will come from the fire department's overtime and salary line items in the 2011 budget, city officials said.

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