The Village of Homer Fire Department looks to replace a 23 year old Rescue Truck (Truck 542). The department plans for a new more efficient truck that will also be built locally.
The truck, a 2000 Ford Excursion, has been with the fire department since it was purchased in the year 2000. The truck has responded to at least 60% of calls within the fire district in the past 23 years.
The new truck the department plans to purchase, if approved via a referendum by voters in the village, will be a Ram truck with a chassis. The truck will have a rescue type body that is custom built to the department’s specifications on the back. It will also be able to handle more dual purpose calls than the current truck can.
Michael Keegan who is part of the committee on the purchasing of the new truck with the Homer Fire Department gave specifics on what the current truck holds and what the new truck will then be able to expand off of.
“We do have a matter of fire equipment on the truck as well as forcible entry tools, forcible entry hand tools, self-contained breathing apparatus. So this truck has somewhat served a dual purpose, but the new vehicle will allow us to expand the dual purpose.” Keegan said to X101 News.
With the fire department able to get multiple uses out of the same vehicle. The cost to the taxpayer will be lower than if two vehicles were required.
The new truck when built will also have easier access to equipment for firefighters. The current Ford Excursion does have built-ins, but was noted firefighters sometimes have to physically climb into the vehicle to reach equipment.
“The new rescue body will have much more exterior compartment access.” Keegan continued on describing the new truck. “The new vehicle will allow us with an open storage area between the two sides of the rescue body and it will allow us free and easy access to all of the equipment in a much more efficient manner.”
When it came to where the new truck would be built, the fire department did their research and were able to find a nationally recognized builder located in Genoa, NY. That company is Stonewell Bodies.
“A lot of those people that work up in Genoa belong to volunteer fire departments. They’re fellow firefighters just like us. They build a very quality product. Chief Riley and myself have been to their factory. They do great work and they take pride in their workmanship. Much like what we take pride right here in Homer in doing what we do.” Keegan on the decision for choosing Stonewell Bodies.
Turn around time for the new truck is estimated to be about 6 months after all approvals are given. Stonewell Bodies will do complete work on the truck including lights and sirens.
The Homer Fire Department has planned well when it comes to updating equipment. Current Chief Riley and former Chiefs of the department, ensure funds are placed in the reserves for future purchases of trucks. Along with funds placed in the reserves by the Village of Homer, this work will lessen the burden on the taxpayer. The department plans to sell the old truck once the new one arrives as surplus, with the proceeds going to the purchase of future equipment.