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Eagle Creek, ESD No. 2 weigh brush truck options
FLORESVILLE -- Boards for both the Wilson County Emergency Services District (ESD) No. 2 and the Eagle Creek Volunteer Emergency Services (VES) continue to mull the eventual purchase of a medium-sized brush truck. This was a key topic of discussion during the ESD’s April 1 board meeting.
Eagle Creek VES, which performs firefighting and emergency medical services, is contracted by the ESD to perform both. The need for a smaller brush truck has become increasingly apparent, said Assistant Fire Chief Walter Cutsinger, with more subdivided land in the area. The weight of the current 2-1/2 ton military surplus trucks makes them difficult to handle in sandy terrain.
Cutsinger said Eagle Creek VES is attempting to sell its green military-surplus truck, for which it is asking $2,000. The truck has experienced continual mechanical issues and younger firefighters are unable to use the truck because of its manual steering and standard transmission.
The department had a buyer for the truck, but he became impatient.
“We ran into a little opposition with the titling,” Cutsinger said. “The former chief [Ed Schriber] failed to transfer the title from government surplus to our name in a timely fashion.”
The department’s red military-surplus truck, nicknamed “Sam,” is on loan from the Texas Forestry Service, and will be returned once a new truck is received.
Cutsinger said he has received varying estimates for medium-sized 0brush trucks, which would be built on a chassis comparable to a Ford F-450 or F-550 pickup truck. Prices have ranged from $82,900 to $108,850. But because the department still lacked specifics about exactly what it would need in a truck, the board tabled the discussion. This was after board member Roger Brickley asked if anyone had done an analysis related to minimum capabilities and serviceable requirements necessary to meet the community’s needs.
Board member Larry Phillips suggested contacting other fire departments with similar vehicles and asking about their experiences, finding out the overall costs of operating such trucks, and determining what lease options exist.
“What do you really need, and how many do you need?” Bill Kenney asked.
Also during the meeting, the board revisited the discussion related to uniforms for fire and emergency medical services personnel. Kenney said upon reviewing the budget submitted by Eagle Creek VES, it was determined that the department had allocated funds for that expense, which was why the ESD board determined that it would not be making this purchase. The board then voted unanimously to close the discussion.
In addition to its April 1 meeting, the board met April 6 for a workshop session. During that time, the board reviewed its policy and procedures manual and its observations from the recent annual conference of the State Association of Fire and Emergency Districts.
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