Fire department seeks funding for battery-operated extrication tools

The Mapleton Fire Department is applying to the Trillium  Community Support Fund for $15,000 to purchase two battery-operated extrication tools.

At the Jan. 27 meeting, Fire Chief Rick Richardson explained Trillium Mutual Insurance has established the ROOTS (Recognizing Our Opportunity to Support) fund to provide assistance to community projects.

“Staff would like to apply for funding to purchase two extrication tools that are used at vehicle and farm accidents throughout the year,” stated Richardson in his report. “The new tools would allow operation without using hoses and gas engines to power them.”

He added the battery operation also allows for quicker remote usage when the rescue trucks cannot get close enough.

The report recommended an application be submitted to purchase one unit in 2015 and a second unit in 2016.

“We would apply for full 100 per cent funding. Should the fund only cover 50% of the cost, staff would recommend that the balance come from the fire department’s capital equipment reserve,” the report explains.

“Our extrication tools are fairly old, but they still work fine,” Richardson told council, adding the advantage of the battery-operated models is the firefighters don’t have to deal with getting additional lines to emergency scenes.

Richardson also reported on a plan to restructure positions within the department to accommodate a need for additional training officers.

The current officer organizational chart and remuneration consists of eight captains, of whom two are training officers, two are responsible for the pagers and radios, two are equipment managers, one is a fire prevention officer and one is in charge of clothing and uniforms.

“New training changes have led to the need for more assistance in the training department. The new structure would move the equipment managers to assist with training. This would have two training officers for each station. More subjects can be offered each night and more sign-offs will occur. The new structure does not change the total remuneration for the captains, but shifts responsibilities within the officers roles,” explained Richardson in his report.

Richardson also reported three new firefighters have been hired as a result of a recruiting process that concluded in December. Twelve candidates applied and Richardson said one more recruit will be brought in to replace a retiring Drayton station firefighter.

Council accepted the reports as presented.