Fire District #1 used grant money to purchase 56 air packs, 112 air bottles and 65 face pieces for their fire fighters. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz

Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Board members of Johnson County Fire District #1 met on May 9 at the New Century station and discussed new gear for firefighters, a new tender truck and a new insurance provider.

Grants and donations = new gear
Rob Kirk, FD#1 fire chief, told the board that the CERT group had received a $1000 donation from the city of Edgerton.
He said they had a list of items they wanted to purchase.
FD#1 recently received a grant as well. With the grant funds, the district has purchased backpack style air supply gear for it’s firefighters.
“These types of things save taxpayer money,” said Kirk.
The purchase includes 56 air packs, 112 air bottles and 65 face pieces.
“They’re state of the art and they have our logos and insignias on them,” said Kirk.
Keith Johnson, fire board member, asked about the life expectancy of this type of gear. Kirk said it was ten years.
The district also plans to be replacing all their radios between now and 2020. Kirk said the total cost would be around $300,000.
The district is looking for grant money to cover or offset that cost. Kirk said they have been discussing a joint grant application with other districts.

Insurance policy savings
Dennis Meyer, assistant fire chief, and Mary Bush, administrative services, recently analyzed options for workers compensation and liability insurance policies.
The policy insures workers compensation as required by statute and also all of the district’s buildings, vehicles and equipment. It has been renewed the last 3 or 4 years without comparison.
This year, staff invited quotes from other insurers and after doing so, decided to make a switch.

“We saved $13,672.00 and got a lot better coverage,” Kirk said.
Bush said the previous policy had a $2 million dollar liability coverage cap, and the new policy offers $10 million.
In addition, Kirk said much of the district property was under appraised with the previous policy.
He said they’d compare rates yearly from now on.

New Tender Truck
At last month’s meeting, staff reviewed  details of a lease purchase agreement for a new tender truck.
Tender trucks carry water to fire sites, most often used in rural areas where there is no nearby fire hydrant.
The district wants to replace their two 24 year old, 1600 gallon capacity tender trucks with one new model that has a 3000 gallon capacity.
The new truck is on a Kenworth chassis with a PACCAR engine.
The purchase price of the new truck is $303,328.00.
The two old trucks will have a trade in value of about $30,000.
The district will make an annual payment of $32,296.94 for ten years.
There is about a year’s wait for the truck to be customized and delivered.
With none opposed, the board approved the tender purchase.