The Union Recorder

August 16, 2013

New rescue pumpers customized for Baldwin County

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Local first responders showcased three new toys in front of the Baldwin County Courthouse Wednesday afternoon. Baldwin County Fire Rescue pumpers provide an updated look and performance.

A red and black paint scheme represents the area.

“It was a change statement. They are Baldwin County trucks,” Fire Chief Troy Reynolds said.

Money from the $1.5 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funded the county rigs.

County Manager Ralph McMullen said these vehicles were truly “SPLOST dollars well spent.”

“From a county manager’s standpoint, I feel that we have probably one of the best fire departments in the state of Georgia, and they deserve updated and good equipment,” McMullen said.

Responding to the poor condition of county fire engines and equipment, the Baldwin County Commissioners approved a bid from NAFECO for the rescue pumper purchases last December.

The Decatur, Ala. Company’s $978,981 bid was lower than the other four received.

The county fire department researched and visited five manufacturers that built these types of components since December 2012.

The KME-Kovatch Organization plant in Nesquehoning, Pa. matched the specifications required. Construction began with a pile of raw material and ended with custom trucks designed only to be fire trucks.

Various components were built one by one.

Each rescue pumper is identical.

New features such as a phone system will help responders on initial attack. A back up camera really assists single operators as well.

When the right blinker goes on, the entire right side of the truck lights up for safety.

Actually, safety is a buzzword with these custom vehicles.

The cab and frame are stronger than a commercial type. They will withstand 120,000 pounds of pressure allowing for a smoother ride.

Engine and turbo brakes along with electronic stability control are a Baldwin County fire first. Reynolds said if the truck is leaning too much the stability system takes over and decelerates.

Outside compartments boost firefighters’ emergency medical services role with nimble equipment access.

For the pumper job, an outside tank level light lets all firefighters see what’s left.

The pumpers officially begin service in three to four weeks.

Firefighters and operators will go through training learning the computer operated pumping system, phone system and complete a driving course because the trucks handle vastly different.

Morale is up. Firefighters can serve better and faster.

As for the old pumpers, one will stay as a reserve for Insured Services Office fire protection ratings, while the other two will be evaluated and possibly sold.