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Eatontown Fire Dept Proposes Equipment Changes

Quint 11-91 currently in operation with EFD (Photo Courtesy: EFD)

Eatontown: The Eatontown Fire Department presented to the Mayor and Council last night a proposal for new equipment to better serve the borough. First Lt. Billy Mego was at the helm to make a case for retiring two existing trucks and replacing them with a multi-function Quint 11-90 truck.

The trucks proposed for retirement are 20 and 25 years old respectively and cost the borough approximately $4,000 per year to maintain. The arguments being made by the department for the equipment change is partly the age of the equipment, safety to the department and residents and pure manpower. The department has only 45 volunteer members today compared to over 60 just ten years ago.      

Open cab of this truck has been cited for safety issues and no longer adheres to regulations (Photo EFD)

"Many of our guys have 2 and 3 jobs", cited Mego. "During the hours of 6am and 6pm there are only about 10 firefighters available to respond to calls."

The proposed replacement Quint is a multifunction apparatus that functions as a pumper, water tank, fire hose, ground ladder and aerial device truck. It's much more versatile in emergency response situations. The cost of the truck however did give the Mayor and Council pause as to next steps. The pricetag is about $825,000. Much of it would be bonded and paid for over the course of 15 years, however, there is an initial cost to the borough of $42,000 that would come out of current year expenses.

        One of two 20+ year pumpers that are nearing the end of useful service  (Photo: EFD)   

Mayor Gerry Tarantolo questioned whether shared services with other towns would be more cost effective in both equipment and manpower. "Can't we convince other towns to partner with us?"

Lt Mego pointed out that this had been looked into in the past. "Unfortunately the home rule effect prevents us from doing it", referring to the control and housing of the equipment.

There was discussion with regard to ISO ratings for fire protection. Mego cited in his presentation that the current rating could be downgraded and may have an impact on insurance premiums for homes and businesses in the borough. "We contacted insurance companies to find out if rates would increase if the ISO rating was downgraded and no one could confirm it"

WORDontheShore did some research on this and found that most insurance companies no longer use ISO ratings to set premiums although there are some states outside of New Jersey that have kept the ISO rating requirement in place. Homeowner insurance premiums are set based on many factors beyond fire protection, including other losses: flood, lightening, hail, wind, etc.

Councilmember Piazza was handed the action item to work with the fire department on assessing the proposal, costs to the borough and possible next steps. Any action to retire the two current trucks and purchase a new one would take 12-15 months to complete given the time it takes for fire apparatus to be contracted, built and delivered.

Read more from: Eatontown

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