Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department's certified rescue truck was certified by the Emergency Management System Wednesday making it the third vehicle to be so designated and available in the community.
"What happens if one of those trucks responds to an emergency, needs backup and another emergency occurs at the other end of the county? My theory is, it's better to be prepared," Tom Champion, fire chief, said.
The other two certified rescue trucks are owned by Clay County Search and Rescue and Lewis Township Volunteer Fire Department.
The basic life support and multi-task vehicle carries a defibrillator and oxygen. The department has 11 First Responders certified to use all equipment on the truck, one Emergency Medical Technician and one Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Instructor.
The certified rescue truck will respond to EMS emergencies, auto extrications, structural fires and other rescue missions. It also has 650 feet of supply hose that can supply pond water to other firetrucks and provide foam firefighting capabilities to extinguish petroleum fires.
"It's taken about a year to get everything in place for the certification," Champion said.
Before the truck could obtain the designation, a medical doctor had to outline proper medical procedures for any given situation and detail those procedures in a training manual to be carried at all times on the truck. The department was required to purchase additional insurance for the designation and conduct simulated rescue trainings with the equipment.
The department developed a training classroom, complete with Powerpoint presentations. This spring, an outside training area will be built in the field next to the fire department.
"It'll be a like a designated playground for firefighters," Champion said.
Champion secured all equipment through donations. It will include a guard rail with a 2-foot deep and 10-foot long ditch for simulated auto rescues, a series of propane tanks, a confined space training chamber, a vertical confined space chamber of about 24 inches in diameter and a 10-foot deep pit, a semi truck trailer with wall-changing chambers and a 2 1/2-story repelling tower, interstate pipeline trainer and a Christmas tree-type configuration of steel pipe to train firefighters on controlling shooting flames through various valves.
Jackson Volunteer Fire Department now has two draft hydrants that allow their firetrucks to pump water from ponds and has plans to install four more. Without the draft hydrants, firefighters must move additional equipment from their trucks to get the water and if it's frozen, break through the ice.
Champion is also arranging for an ISO rating for Jackson Township. ISO refers to ratings done by the Insurance Services office, a company which provides fire fighting information, said State Farm Insurance agent John Howes on Friday. The rating determines the amount a homeowner must pay for fire insurance based on available fire protection on a scale from one to 10, with one being the best. The rating has never been secured for the township, so it is currently a 10, Champion said.
The City of Brazil has a rating of 7, Howes added.
"When we get our rating, I'm sure (the rating will improve), which will lower insurance costs to homeowners in Jackson Township," Champion said.