Advanced tech for Galion FD
Galion Fire Department’s new pumper truck arrived last Thursday. Since then, F.D. personnel have been prepping the truck with equipment and familiarizing themselves with the new vehicle, which includes numerous safety and technological advancements that will make their job easier and more effective.
Fire Chief Phil Jackson and a group of firefighters picked up the truck last week from KME Kovatch, a supplier of customized specialty vehicles in Pennsylvania. Jackson said it was a long trip, but well worth it. Overall, the truck is safer, more efficient and more versatile.
The last new vehicle the department received was a tanker truck in 2001. The last new pumper came in 1990, and because emergency vehicles have a 20 year life cycle, Jackson said they were overdue for a new pumper. However, it is actually replacing another old truck, one of the vehicles sold by the city in 2009. According to Jackson, most communities of comparable size have three to four trucks; Galion now has three to complete its fleet.LED lighting that runs on the vehicle’s battery instead of a generator, which are brighter and can be turned on when the truck’s engine is not running. Storage cabinets are deeper than cabinets on other trucks in the fleet and have special pull-out trays, making it faster and more convenient to access equipment.
The Jaws of Life are stored in a compartment on the front of the truck, with a motor built in to the compartment. In comparison, older trucks store the device in the back, so the tool, as well as the motor, must be carried to the scene of an accident when needed.
In the cab, wider doors and extra space make it more comfortable and offer more functionality, such as storage for EMS equipment. There are also seat belt monitors, a back-up camera with sound alerts, Smart Wheel technology so the driver does not need to remove his hands from the steering wheel (to operate sirens and the like), and a Vehicle Data Recorder (similar to the black box on an airplane).
“We want to make Galion proud of what it bought,” Jackson added. He intends to organize a “safety day” early next year so that people can view the truck and other new equipment purchased recently through FEMA grants.
A committee of five people decided on the purchase of the truck, which cost $360,000, a purchase that had been included in the city’s budget recovery plan for several years. City Council approved the 10 year lease agreement during its Nov. 13 meeting.
The vehicle should be on the road by Thursday, Dec. 20. Jackson said a ride in the truck had been offered to the coloring contest winners at Galion Primary School, so he hopes to do that soon. Also, Guardian Graphics will be adding the department’s motto on the truck: “Serving Galion and Polk Township since 1842.”
Jackson said the new vehicle will positively effect the department’s ISO rating. Galion was rated at a six, but Jackson requested an updated rating and it was bumped up to a five. He said it could possibly become a four as new training is completed and equipment is replaced through the FEMA grants that have been awarded to the department or have been applied for. Next, he intends to push for an aerial truck replacement, a piece of equipment that was also sold in 2009.