‘We need a work­horse and not a Cadil­lac’

Brook­lyn fire­fight­ers seek­ing new pumper tanker to add to fleet

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - BY CAROLE MOR­RIS- UNDERHILL HANTSJOURNAL.CA Carole Mor­ris-Underhill@hantsjournal ca

West Hants coun­cil is put­ting the brakes on pur­chas­ing an­other new ve­hi­cle for the Brook­lyn Fire Depart­ment, at least un­til it has a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the equip­ment cur­rently oper­at­ing within the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Deputy fire chief Wayne Swin­imer and Capt. Brian Barker made a pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil­lors June 26, re­quest­ing a com- mit­tee be struck to plan for the pur­chase of a new pumper tanker. Swin­imer said

the ve­hi­cle would re­place Engine 1, the first cus­tom fire engine bought for Brook­lyn in 1987, presently housed in the sub­sta­tion in Three Mile Plains.

Swin­imer said Brook­lyn was look­ing to right-size its fleet, not up­size or down­size.

“For the safety of our mem­ber­ship and the pro­tec­tion of the citizens of West Hants, I feel that Engine 1 must be re­tired in 2019 and re­placed with a new pumper tanker,” he told coun­cil­lors.

Coun­cil heard that the fire depart­ment didn’t be­lieve the ex­ist­ing truck would pass its safety in­spec­tion at the end of June as “the body is cor­rod­ing out and small cracks around doors are ap­pear­ing.” All black iron pipes need to be re­placed on the pumper and the fire pump has not passed a flow test in about five years. It was noted, how­ever, that the truck was re­fur­bished about 15 years ago “with great suc­cess.”

Coun­cil ques­tioned why this was the first time it was hear­ing about the dire need to have the ve­hi­cle re­placed. The chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer said he had ac­ci­den­tally left the item off of the 20182019 bud­get doc­u­ments.

Coun­cil­lors also shared con­cerns over spend­ing more money.

“I just want to re­mind coun­cil that we’ve had Sub­sta­tion 2 open for 18 months. This is some­thing I think we should’ve known at the time we opened that. It should have been some­thing we were bud­get­ing for,” said Coun. Kathy Mon­roe.

Coun. Jen­nifer Daniels asked if the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has com­pleted a fire risk as­sess­ment - a re­port that shows what fire ap­pa­ra­tus is needed to ef­fi­ciently serve the re­gion, and where that equip­ment should be housed for op­ti­mal de­ploy­ment.

There was a gen­eral con­sen­sus around the ta­ble that coun­cil needs to know what items fire­fight­ers have avail­able.

$1 mil­lion ball­park

Af­ter re­view­ing Swin­imer’s pre­sen­ta­tion, Mon­roe said she was con­cerned that Sta­tion 2 was be­com­ing a clone of Brook­lyn’s main sta­tion. The pre­sen­ta­tion in­di­cated there should be one squad, one pumper/ tanker, one tanker, and one light res­cue in each sta­tion. Brook­lyn’s main sta­tion also houses spe­cial­ized pieces of equip­ment, such as the 105- foot aerial truck, a medium re­hab/ squad unit, a spe­cial op­er­a­tions trailer for ice res­cue and a RTV/ wild­land res­cue ve­hi­cle.

Mon­roe said the Three Mile Plains location was never in­tended to be a stand­alone fire depart­ment.

When asked how much the new pumper tanker would cost, Swin­imer said: “I guess the ball­park fig­ure would be $1 mil­lion.”

As the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is look­ing to hire a fire ser­vices co-or­di­na­tor, it was rec­om­mended coun­cil holds off on pur­chas­ing new fire trucks un­til af­ter the po­si­tion is filled and a fire risk as­sess­ment is com­pleted.

“I know in the past few years, we have spent mil­lions of dol­lars on equip­ment. I think it’s time we have some­one come in and tell us ex­actly what we need and how we need it,” said Coun. Randy Hussey.

“We’ve bought ex­pen­sive trucks in the past. I think this time we need a work­horse and not a Cadil­lac. We don’t need all the chrome on it that some of the other trucks have when they were pur­chased,” he con­tin­ued.

Re­gional ser­vice

Brook­lyn Sta­tion 1 cur­rently has one pumper tanker. War­den Abra­ham Ze­bian asked if the neigh­bour­ing Windsor Fire Depart­ment has a pumper tanker. Swin­imer, a for­mer mem­ber there, said it did.

“If we’re look­ing at a re­gional fire ser­vice... we need to start fig­ur­ing out what we have in this whole area and what needs to be where and what needs to be housed where,” Ze­bain said.

Ze­bian ref­er­enced a re­port that was pre­pared by a con­sul­tant when the for­mer West Hants coun­cil was in the process of set­ting up its own fire ser­vice.

“We have a study that says the aerial truck needs to be at Sta­tion 2 so that takes up two bays right there. There’s only room for two more trucks. Ei­ther we built it wrong or we’re do­ing some­thing wrong here. I think we’re mak­ing de­ci­sions with­out know­ing the full pic­ture,” said Ze­bian.

The aerial truck was pur­chased when the for­mer coun­cil sev­ered ties with the Windsor Fire Depart­ment. The truck cost more than $1.2 mil­lion and is presently housed in Brook­lyn, not Sta­tion 2 in Three Mile Plains.

A pre­vi­ous con­sul­tant’s re­port in­di­cated the aerial lad­der truck should be main­tained within three kilo­me­tres of com­mer­cial/in­dus­trial ar­eas.

“For coun­cil and the ef­fi­ciency of our tax dol­lars, we need to get our feet un­der this cor­rectly,” said Ze­bian.

“I would like to see some­body come in and tell us what we have and where we need it and how to go for­ward.”

Martin Lay­cock, the chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer for West Hants, said he’s work­ing on de­vel­op­ing the fire ser­vices co-or­di­na­tor po­si­tion but that role won’t be filled un­til next year.

“The re­al­ity is, we don’t have the bud­get to hire an in­di­vid­ual un­til next year any­way. There’s noth­ing we can do un­til the next fis­cal year,” said Lay­cock.

He also ad­vised coun­cil that the Hantsport Fire Depart­ment will be com­ing for­ward soon with a re­quest for a new truck as “they’ve de­layed that over a num­ber of years for bud­getary rea­sons.”

That res­cue truck is for Hantsport’s Sta­tion 2 site in South­west Hants and is about two years past due for re­place­ment.

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