KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
ARLINGTON -- The Arlington Fire Department would like to purchase a "command vehicle" to reduce the liability of volunteers using their own vehicles in responding to certain fire scenes, provide mutual aid, as well as transport them to training classes.
Arlington Fire Chief Jamie Paustian told the Select Board Monday that the department has located a 1999 Ford Explorer in Granville, N.Y., being sold by an individual for $3,400. He said the vehicle is owned by a member of the military who only drove it in the winter and is selling it because he has purchased a new vehicle. The Explorer had its engine replaced four years ago. Paustian said he would still need the vehicle’s identification number to run a "Carfax" check on it.
It would need about $1,000 in work to equip it with lights, radio, and coloring, said Paustian. There is no room for it at existing fire facilities so it would be parked at his home or that of another chief when not in use. Paustian said the large fire trucks can fit about two firefighters, so for most mutual aid calls and emergency scenes department members must take their own vehicles and are under their own insurance if an accident happens. Most training opportunities, he said, are far upstate and it the cost of transportation falls on the volunteers.
Board Chairman Keith Squires said the department should draft a policy on the vehicle’s use and should also expect the public to question when and where it gets driven as the same thing happens with town vehicles used by the road crew. He said it would also need to go on a replacement schedule and would incur maintenance costs.
Paustian said he could have a policy drafted by the board’s next meeting and said he expects maintenance costs would be low because the vehicle would not have water pumps or any of the other equipment fire trucks carry.
The board decided to table the matter while its members considered the proposal.
Prior to that discussion the board approved the sale of one of the department’s old fire trucks for $7,000. The department had been asking $8,500 but Paustian said the offer from the Whiting Fire Department was fair. He said that was the only offer made after the department informally advertised it. He said it’s the highest amount the department has received for an old truck.
The board discussed whether or not it should advertise the sale in local media but decided the department’s efforts to put the offer out had been sufficient.
Paustian also updated the board on the situation with the department’s radio communications. For the past few years radio contact has been difficult in parts of west Sandgate and other areas the department serves but this past year it had Wells Communications inspect its system and that company found a number of problems which it corrected. Paustian said other departments in Bennington County use that same company and he would like to switch to them.
He said there are still problems with communication in parts of Sandgate and the department has relied on the radio system used by Washington County, N.Y., emergency services.
The board tabled that matter as well.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.