Chief calls for earlier truck replacement, more staff

By David Dinell
Derby Informer – June 20, 2018

Firefighter Skyeler Reynolds gives local students a tour of Station 82, including its fire truck, which is due for replacement. When it’s replaced, it will be moved into a reserve capacity. Photo by David Dinell

Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith has proposed moving up the timetable for replacing one of the city’s fire trucks by a year. Engine 82 was set for replacement in 2020, and Smith said he would like to see that done next year.

Smith made the proposal in his report in the 2019 city budget, which is now in the process of being examined by the public and City Council members.

Engine 82 was purchased in 2001 and for four years was used by the city’s volunteer fire department.

Since 2005, it has responded to all types of fires, emergency medical calls and vehicle accidents, he said, but it’s now reaching the end of its life as a main resource.

“Historically, 19 years is the limit on front line dependability for an engine,” he said.

While the engine may look fine to the casual observer, appearances don’t always provide the total picture, he said.

“It does looks new, but then our goal is to keep them up,” he said. “We don’t let them get beat up.”

However, with age, all fire trucks experience more service-related work and the need for repairs, which can place them out of use.

Smith uses an industry formula that results in placing it at about 210,000 miles of use. That includes hours of use such as being at an emergency scene pumping water and other tasks that put pressure on its operation systems.

The new truck will cost $723,000 and, once ordered, it will take six to nine months to build and be delivered.

Once replaced, the current Engine 82 will serve in a reserve capacity for about five years.

“Currently, the department has no reserve apparatus,” he said.

“Reserve apparatus fill short-term assignments when front line engines are out of service for maintenance, repairs or tied up on alarms,” he said.

“The insurance service office strongly recommends a fire department maintain at least one reserve engine for times when front line apparatus is out of service for preventive maintenance, repairs or extended scene time,” Smith said.

Also, in the budget, Smith also is calling for three new firefighter positions in 2019, a budget item of $225,119. That would bring it up to national standards, he said.

In the future, he has proposed replacing Quint 82, a 105-foot ladder truck, in 2022 at a cost of $1.3 million, and Rescue 81 in 2023 at a cost of $600,000. Both vehicles will be at the end of their lifespans by those years, he said.

 

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