New fire truck gets closer to reality
By Cheryl Parker

After a decade of talking about it, the vision of a new city fire truck is coming into focus.

Fire Chief Andy Trumbauer says the National Fire Protection Agency sets standards for firefighting equipment such as hoses, pumps, etc. Each component must be tested every year. The fire department has been replacing pieces as necessary, so standards are met, but the time has come to upgrade to a new unit. In the past, the decision to hold off purchasing new was an easy one – they didn’t have the facility to house the newer, bigger trucks. But with the new Emergency Services Building, that vision can finally be realized. As a matter of fact, Trumbauer says NFPA guidelines “recommend a truck should not be in operation in excess of 20 years.”
The current truck is a 1987 model, so that means it has been in service for about 32 years.

Mark Collett has taken a special interest in this unit, as it was one of the last major expenditures by the city during his tenure as Jesup mayor.

The city currently has three conventional fire trucks; two of the three are “township” trucks, purchased with tax monies allocated to the townships in the fire district. They also have a rescue truck. (Collett describes this unit as “a hardware store for firefighters,” as it contains the jaws of life, equipment to right a turned over unit, and all kinds of specialized equipment and hand tools that may be necessary to break into a burning building.)

As no emergency is the same, the Jesup Fire Department also has two pickup trucks that are especially useful in grass fires, plus they are excellent “people movers” to transport four or five firemen to the scene. Their arsenal also includes equipment for water rescue.
Currently the JFD has been visiting neighboring fire departments and talking with personnel about their trucks. Jesup’s new fire truck will be custom ordered to meet the needs of the Jesup community, so it is good to know what neighboring departments have chosen, what features they like and what features they don’t like, and what they would do differently if they could do it again. Once ordered, the unit will take 9-13 months to build. Just like purchasing an automobile for personal use, the new fire truck will come with many standardized options; but others will have to be purchased separately either before or after delivery.

Fire Chief Andy Trumbauer leads a crew of 30 firefighters and has three Assistant Fire Chiefs: Kevin West, Clint Bell, and James Masteller. Trumbauer has been a firefighter since 1998, and took over as chief in the summer of 2008. The crew consists of mostly younger men; there have been female firefighters in the past, but there are no women serving at the present time.

Chief Trumbauer said “We are very fortunate to have community support of Emergency Services.”

At the January 6 Jesup City Council meeting, the Council gave full approval to apply for funds for a new fire truck through the Black Hawk County Gaming Association. This past year, the Gaming Association approved funds for Jesup to purchase a new vehicle for the Police Department.

Regardless of funding, the City of Jesup owns all emergency services equipment, and all units are utilized when and where needed. The city disburses funds to the individual departments in June. They were about $90,000 short of being able to purchase the new truck, but with the donation from the Colletts that shortage has shrunk to about $40,000.

Mark Collett said “Deb and I talked about it, and we realized we could do something to kick this along.”

If anyone would like to follow Mark and Deb’s lead, checks may be made payable to: “Jesup Fire Association” and dropped off at City Hall, or sent to P.O. Box 592, Jesup, Iowa 50648. Collett said the 1987 unit has lots of hours on it, but low mileage. He noted in the past some retiring units were purchased by farmers and retrofitted to haul grain. The decision about what to do with the 1987 fire truck will be up to the new City Council.
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