Made possible by money from a Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant, the Bruce-Romeo Fire Department has replaced its 1976 tanker with a new 3,000-gallon truck.
“Generally speaking, vehicle grants are the most competitive and most difficult to receive due to the large dollar amounts involved,” Romeo Fire Chief Ken Staelgraeve said.
The fire department applied for grant funding in 2010 and 2011 with hopes of replacing its 1976 tanker but was unsuccessful in being awarded the grant.
The next grant period opened on Nov. 4, 2013, and closed Dec. 6, 2013, but Staelgraeve had only been appointed chief on Nov. 1 of that year.
“I had to act quickly to assure that we could meet the deadline for submittal of a request for the 2013 AFG cycle,” he said. “After conducting a needs assessment within the department, it was apparent that our most pressing need continued to be the replacement of our 1976 tanker.”
Staelgraeve was notified on July 2, 2014, that the department had been awarded a grant of $250,000 for the new tanker.
“Their application for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant met the requirements of the program, and clearly demonstrated the necessity to replace critically-needed equipment used to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards,” said Cassie Ringsdorf, media contact for FEMA’s Region V office.
The awarded grant required a minimum of a 5 percent township match, which was $11,875, charged to the fire fund. After the 5 percent township match, federal contribution was $237,500. The total cost of the vehicle was $257,900.
Specifications that were developed before bids were solicited for the new tanker included the provision of loose equipment, such as fire hoses, nozzles, adapters, a portable tank, and other miscellaneous tools the department didn’t already have on hand. The specifications fulfilled conditions for the grant in order to be compliant with the National Fire Protection Association’s 1901 Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus.
The department received six bids by the due date of Sept. 15, 2014. Wisconsin-based Custom Fab & Body was deemed the lowest qualified bidder and was awarded the contract with a bid of $257,669.
“Bruce Township, like many rural townships, has no fire hydrants,” Staelgraeve said. “All of the water we use at a fire must be trucked to the scene. We do that with tankers. This tanker will not only be used to supply water at fire scenes in Bruce Township but in neighboring communities as well.”
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