County commission discusses bids

By Randy Gonzales
Hays Daily News – April 22, 2014

Ellis County commissioners received a report on purchasing new air packs from Ellis County Rural Fire Director Dick Klaus in Monday’s meeting at the Ellis County Courthouse.

Three companies turned in bids for 38 self-contained breathing apparatus air packs. The low bid was $165,00 by Conrad Fire Equipment Inc., Olathe. Hays Fire and Rescue Sales & Service LLC was next at $188,000, and the highest bid was from MES Fire, Fremont, Neb., for $207,000.

Firefighters met with two of the companies last week, and their preference was for the air packs from Hays Fire.

“The middle bid is the one they liked,” Klaus said.

Klaus told commissioners the air packs from Hays Fire differed from the other two in that they would be new, while the others would be old ones retrofitted to meet specifications.

“This one here, from Hays Fire, they started out here several years ago. They had fire departments call them to tell them what they wanted in air packs,” Klaus said. “That’s how this one was developed.”

The air packs from Hays Fire had advantages over the other ones, Klaus said. They are easier to disconnect air flow; the masks have better visibility; the microphones are better; all of the batteries are in just one location; and the warranty is better.

Weis Fire & Safety Equipment, Salina, inspected the department’s air packs and found problems. Klaus contacted the company to find out what exactly those problems were. Once he finds out, he then will report his findings to commissioners.

“These air packs are over 20 years old, probably,” Klaus said.

Commissioner Swede Holmgren, who expressed safety concerns with the current air packs, was in favor of tabling the issue until Klaus hears from Weis Fire, and Commissioner Dean Haselhorst was in agreement. Chairwoman Barbara Wasinger was not present.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster

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