Quick turnaround time in receiving quality gear for firefighters and a nearby repair facility trumped paying a lower cost as two Lima Fire Department officials recommended Lima City Council authorize a contract with the highest of three bids.
Lima Fire Chief Mark Heffner and Deputy Chief Bruce Black favor Fire Safety Services, of Huntsville, over United Fire Apparatus, of Cridersville, and Finley Fire Equipment, of McConnelsville, despite it being nearly $400 more per fire coat and pant set.
“Although it was the highest of the bids received, Fire Safety Services was chosen because of the superior quality of the Fire Dex gear, the short turnaround time between order and delivery, and Fire Safety Services has the only NFPA [National Fire Protection Association] approved bunker gear repair facility in the area,” Heffner wrote in a letter to councilors. “The importance of quality bunker gear to firefighter safety and survival cannot be overstated and much deliberation, research and time has been invested in choosing the best gear for our people.”
Fire Safety Services, which provides Fire Dex gear, submitted a bid of $2,219 per set, while Finley Fire Equipment, which services Globe Fire Gear, submitted a bid of $2,175 and United Fire Apparatus, which works with Lion Apparel Fire Gear, a bid of $1,849.
In a letter from Black to Heffner, the deputy chief cited turnaround time from the time of order to delivery for Fire Safety Services was typically four to six weeks or three to four weeks if rushed. Fire gear was ordered Dec. 23 for three new employees and received on their first day of work Jan. 13. He said Lion typically took 110 to 120 days, which required them to rent fire gear for each employee at a cost of $350 to $500.
“The second reason is Fire Safety Services is an NFPA approved repair facility for fire bunker gear,” Black wrote. “They stated that they could have gear repaired within one to three days from delivery to their shop. United Fire, the current Lion Apparel provider in this area, is not an NFPA approved repair facility. Therefore they have to send fire bunker gear away to have it repaired and this usually takes two to three weeks.”