Joseph firefighters will find addresses more quickly with GPS units being purchased for their fleet by Wallowa Lake Rural Fire Protection District.
District directors voted Monday, Sept. 16, to equip Joseph Fire Department engines, water tenders and its rescue unit with Garmin GPS units.
“Lake homeowners will benefit because our Joseph firefighters will be more effective responding to lake fire calls,” Board President Chuck Anderson said.
The purchase totals $1,400 including lifetime mapping updates. The district had allocated funds for the purchase during public budget discussions in June.
Also approved by directors was a system to begin replacing firefighting “turnout” suits for Joseph firefighters who respond from the lake fire station.
The board agreed to fund a full single set of turnouts for $2,600. The district plans to buy a turnout set each year until all lake responders’ turnouts are replaced, Anderson said. At the board’s suggstion, Anderson agreed to seek grant support for the longterm project.
Joseph turnouts in use today were purchased in 2005 and are rated for a maximum of 10 years before they lose their fire-resistant qualities, according to lake Fire Chief Jeffrey Wecks.
The purchases are part of a continuing effort to support Joseph Fire with equipment that it can’t otherwise afford, Anderson said.
Board members also agreed to install a permanent air compressor in the station with plumbing to each of the station’s three apparatus bays to maintain air-brake capacity in parked vehicles so they are fully capable of responding. Most fire stations in the U.S. have such a system.
The board assigned Wecks to install the system for $1,500 after other estimates were much higher.
Currently, a portable compressor is connected to the engine in the lake station. Directors agreed during budget discussions that the permanent system is needed because Joseph expects to station a wildland engine in the station soon and the station eventually could maintain a third vehicle.
In other action, the board reviewed Wecks’ performance as fire chief after his first 10 months and agreed to maintain his agreement as the district’s chief. “We agreed that he has done a great job for us,” Anderson said.