Solar power, a switch puller and a dry hydrant, the Scio Township Council made a few decisions at its July 26 meeting to help the township fire department and its capabilities.
The Sun Times News followed up with Scio Township Fire Chief Andrew Houde on these three topics and what they mean for the service.
With the solar power project, Houde said the township council authorized the fire department to go ahead with issuing the request for proposals (RFP) for a solar project at the station. Houde said they would send him to companies to bid on installing a solar panel to power the fire station.
“We think we can get a system installed that will meet 100% of the building’s needs with a return on investment of 5 to 7 years,” explained Houde. “We have several companies already interested in bidding for the project. We plan to bring this back to the board next month for final approval.
As solar power leans towards efficiency, the demand for a new response equipment extractor leans towards the safety and health of firefighters.
In his report to the council, Houde said: “The outer garments (fire gear) worn by firefighters are exposed to many carcinogenic contaminants throughout their lifetime. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has carefully crafted standards for the construction and maintenance of firefighting equipment. In addition to being cleaned at least twice a year, whatever their use, turnout gear must be cleaned after each exposure to contamination. Often this translates to 10-12 cleanings per year per set of equipment. Only the pants and jacket cost about $2600/set, the department maintains about 26 sets of response outfits. Only required 2X cleanings require us to spend $135,000 on response equipment through one wash cycle per year.
“To properly clean equipment after use and perform the required 2X cleanings, we have a washer/wringer. This is a heavy-duty commercial washing machine that is programmed specifically to wash turnout gear. They are tuned in spin speed and have specific wash time and temperature settings to effectively clean and decontaminate turnout gear.”
The problem at Scio’s fire station is that the extractor has seen better days, so the council has authorized the purchase of a new one.
Houde said, “This is a commercial washer specifically designed and programmed to clean firefighter turnout gear.”
He said standards required them to wash equipment twice a year and after each use at a fire scene.
“Our current extractor is 15-18 years old and at the end of its lifespan. Also, it has needed repairs more frequently as it gets older,” he said. “This purchase should outlast the resort as it is a more robust machine than what we currently have.”
And finally, the decision for dry hydrants takes into consideration firefighting and therefore community safety.
Houde said in his report, “The Township of Scio has significant areas of the community that do not have a municipal water supply. This presents challenges for fire protection, when a fire breaks out we have to bring water to the scene with water tankers. As the tankers’ water supply is used up, they must travel to a water source to refill and return to the scene. Municipal water is the preferred method of filling, but any static water supply will work. Several areas have installed “dry hydrants” in static water supplies to expedite our ability to deliver water to fire scenes.
An area in need is across the historic Foster Road bridge.
Houde said a dry hydrant is a PVC “suction tube” that is installed in a static water supply like a pond or the Huron River that firefighters can use to draw water when there is a fire in the area and no municipal water is available.
The City Council has authorized the Scio Department to share the costs of this facility. Houde plans to split the cost with the Washtenaw County Road Commission and the Ann Arbor Township Fire Department.
“It will be a significant enhancement to our capabilities (as well as Ann Arbor Township) when fires occur anywhere off Maple north of the Huron River,” Houde said. “The weight capacities of the Foster Road bridge prevent us from passing our tankers over it. We will therefore be able to establish a water supply on the north side of the bridge, drawing water from the Huron River, when the dry hydrant is installed. »