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The new light rescue truck that will be in use by the Loris Fire Department. Photo by Annie Rigby

Loris approves new fire truck

By Annie Rigby

Loris Fire Department (LFD) Chief Jerry Hardee addressed the city council on Monday, July 20, in a special council meeting of the department’s need for the a new fire apparatus light rescue truck.

Hardee said the vehicle that is used to respond to a fire call is 24 years old. He said, “If you have 20 years with a fire apparatus you’ve done good.” He continued, “We need something more dependable and reliable to respond to a call.”

Questions were raised regarding the bidding process versus state approved agencies to purchase the light rescue truck. Hardee explained that not many companies make these vehicles through a co-op purchasing like Sourcewell as they search nationwide for the requested apparatus. He said, “Bottom line is not a lot of people make these vehicles to start with. The co-op is where a certain light rescue body is put on a Ford 450 chassis (frame) and they will build the vehicle from bottom up by physically hand making the body and on the back where the sliding doors and equipment is stored.”

Hardee stated it is an assembly line built in-house and put on the chassis with striping, siren and lights to sell as a package. Hardee said, “We need something more dependable to respond to a call, and a new double cab will carry four to five firefighters which will take some of the personal vehicles off the road.” He stated having a 24 year old vehicle which requires maintenance and repairs is more costly trying to keep something this old running.

This vehicle is used for general calls like vehicle accidents, altercations and lift assists. When asked about lift assists Hardee responded, “If you need me, I’m going to be there for you. The main point is do not abuse the system.” The LFD responds to anyone who falls and needs assistance to get to a safe place in the home, they will help.

The co-op Sourcewell a company that finds vehicles requested nationwide was chosen from the three estimates/bids received. The apparatus price is a $147,000 general figure that was allotted in the 2020-21 budget for the LFD. The council unanimously approved the purchase through Sourcewell.

Hardee stated that Monday, July 20, the LFD responded to eight calls, generally they respond to a month-to-month average of three calls per day. July has been another busy month for the department. They will respond to medical emergencies which if leads to something serious they will be called to assist the EMS or medics to drive to the hospital with fire personnel in the back. He said the medic unit does not respond to everything toned out.

Monday the LFD received eight calls which Hardee states is a busy day. They will respond with EMS who have been designated sick, heart-related, gun shot, diabetic mainly that leads to something serious medics need help with or drive to the hospital with fire personnel in the back. The medic unit (the light rescue truck) does not go to everything toned out.

Requests for the program supplying residents with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers has slowed down. Residents may stop by Loris City Hall and complete a form requesting the items. Hardee said the two areas in the home that fires are most likely to begin are: the number one cause is in the kitchen and second is a dryer fire. He made an example of if a pot of oil catches fire on the stove a fire extinguisher is the best way to put out the fire before it gets out of control or spreads. The LFD will install the smoke detectors and replace batteries once the form is completed and turned in.

A fire extinguisher is the best protection to have to protect a home from a major fire. If a fire spreads, leave the home immediately and get to a place of safety, do not return inside the home, call 911 and report the fire. The LFD will respond and do their best to save as much of the home as possible.

Take a moment and thank a firefighter, they are essential workers and do not have a day off, they are on call 24/7 for 365 days a year.

About Annie Rigby