New truck an early Christmas gift for WashingtonPublished 11:52pm Wednesday, December 19, 2012
By VAIL STEWART RUMLEY
Washington Daily News
Christmas rolled in early for Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS when a sparkling new, custom-built rescue truck pulled into Fire Station No. 2 last week.
The truck came courtesy of an Assistance to Firefighters grant awarded by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, a highly competitive, nationwide grant that Fire Chief Robbie Rose came across last year and started the process to acquire the mobile unit to house all the equipment that comes with the medium-rescue certification the department was on its way toward achieving.
“Basically, it’s a rescue vehicle, with rescue equipment and hazmat equipment,” Rose said.
This rescue vehicle, however, has a lot of perks that a few fire-rescue-EMS personnel have been planning out for quite a while, according to Capt. R.M. Flowers.
Flowers was one of six members of the “truck committee,” the team that mapped out exactly what this federal and city investment should look like in actuality.
“We spec’d out the truck just like we wanted it,” Flowers said.
The new truck replaces the 1982-model rescue vehicle that was a Pepsi-Cola delivery truck in an earlier incarnation. According to Rose, Minges Bottling Company donated the previous truck to the department decades ago and the Washington-based commercial truck manufacturer Hackney-Kidron reworked a Hackney-built beverage truck into a Hackney-built rescue vehicle.
Many years later, Hackney has had its hand in the new truck delivery, too, said city officials. According to grant guidelines, the city of Washington had to go through a competitive bid process. The bid
guidelines were sent to 15 truck
manufacturers, but Hackney-Kidron’s low bid snagged the project, said Rose. The total cost of the truck came in under the $350,000 grant award at just over $327,000. The federal government absorbs 95 percent of the cost; the city, five percent.
“What I’m really excited about is that we have a local-made truck,” Kay said. “Having it locally made means jobs and income for local industries. … We’re glad (Hackney) could help in providing an outstanding vehicle.”
“We were pretty excited that Hackney wanted to bid on it,” Rose said.
But it’s the bells and whistles attached to the truck, extra storage space, and necessities like a built-in generator, adjustable light tower and an integrated system for vehicle extrication, that have fire-rescue-EMS personnel excited.
“We’ll be able to use it for any emergency scene that requires lighting at night time — in any type of specialized situation,” Rose said.
At Fire Station No. 2 on Wednesday, Flowers and Lt. Jonathan Hardin started the laborious task of loading up the truck with rescue equipment, not only finding a new home for each piece, but placing everything for maximum efficiency, and loading up the truck for its first fully-loaded outing. The calls to which the vehicle and personnel will automatically respond is still being worked out, but according to Flowers, the new truck will save resources, regardless.
“The old truck and a fire truck together (would have to be used) to take the place of what this truck can do,” he explained. “It’s been a long time coming.”