New tanker, radios for fire department

The Town of Minto has awarded a tender for the manufacture of a new tanker truck for the Palmerston fire station to a Brampton firm.

Council awarded the contract to Dependable Emergency Vehicles of Brampton for a maximum of $240,000 plus HST at the Jan. 5 meeting.

Minto Fire Chief Chris Harrow reported six responses were received to a request for proposals. The prices ranged from a low of $225,000 to a high of $318,500.

“I believe that the reasons for us receiving the number of proposals are due to the competitive nature for truck manufacturers in the market right now. I also believe that Minto Fire is a respected organization that companies are not afraid of dealing with.”

The number of proposals allowed the department to compare the manufacturers and come up with a truck plan to suit their needs, Harrow pointed out. “The similarity of all of the proposals was surprising, as was the differences in price,” he noted.

Funds for the new truck, replacing a 1998 tanker, will come out of fire reserves in the 2016 budget. Harrow said it will take about a year to build the truck.

Council also approved the purchase of new radios for the fire department to begin the switch over to a county radio system. Harrow explained fire departments in Wellington County determined it would be advantageous to have the same radio system. The cost to change all of the equipment in each of the stations was assessed and coordinated so radios could be purchased together to realize savings through bulk purchasing.

The chief said that at the end of 2015, MRC, the radio supplier for the county system, notified departments that a price increase was coming to all radio hardware in 2016, mainly because of the drop in the Canadian dollar.

As an incentive, they offered an additional 10 per cent off their list price, plus an incentive program offered by Motorola to trade-in of $126 per existing portable radios.

Three of the four departments not already on the system were able to put their numbers together to improve costing, Harrow stated.

Minto Fire needs three base radios, 13 truck radios and 50 portable radios. Based on the order and the discounts being offered, Harrow estimated the town could realize savings of approximately $20,000, bringing the town’s cost down to about $63,000.

“There’s significant savings if we act now,” said Harrow.

Harrow pointed out Minto public works and the county roads and emergency management departments are already on the system.

“Our ability to be interoperable with the emergency operations centre at the municipal office during an emergency would be invaluable,” Harrow stated.

“Communicating effectively between municipalities and within the town was a major concern to be addressed during previous emergency planning exercises.”

Deputy mayor Ron Faulkner asked if the new system would be compatible with radios used by police. “Police and ambulance (are) still on a provincial system and they won’t give us access to that,” Harrow responded.

“How many years have we been fighting that?” Faulkner commented.