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Hoisington approves purchase of new Jaws of Life
Fire department to replace pumper soon
new vlc Hoisington fd extraction file image
First responders using a Holmatro extraction unit like the one approved for purchase by the Hoisington City Council Monday night will be available to the Hoisington Fire Department soon. New extraction equipment is needed because the older jaws of life that was included with equipment on the EMS ambulance that was recently replaced no longer fit. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

HOISINGTON - Hoisington City Council members approved the purchase of a new ‘jaws of life’ extraction unit by the Hoisington Fire Department at the meeting Monday. Previously, Hoisington EMS was responsible for the extraction unit, but when the new ambulance arrived, EMS Director Scott Fleming realized there would not be room for the old unit on the new vehicle.
Fleming met with Fire Chief Jerry Stricker, and the two departments began hashing out what to do. The older ambulance has an extraction unit on it, but its primary use is to conduct transports out of the area. The new ambulance will be used primarily for emergencies in the area. Hoisington Fire deploys one unit to automobile accidents in the area, so it was a natural choice to mount the extraction unit on a fire department vehicle, Stricker said. Maintenance will not be a problem, he added, as it will be added to the ongoing maintenance schedule already implemented.
But the older extraction equipment wasn’t an easy fit for the fire department either. In fact, it would not fit inside any of the trucks, so Sticker and volunteer firefighter Shane Anderek began pricing new equipment, and presented their findings and recommendation to the council Monday night.
The old equipment was purchased in the 1980s, and is still in good condition, but the newer equipment will take up about half as much space and will weigh considerably less. Mounting brackets will also likely be needed to ensure the equipment doesn’t bounce around inside the truck.
After comparing three units from three dealers who operate inside Kansas, Andereck recommended the city purchase one by Homatro. Two features stood out, he said. The cutters and spreaders have built-in LED lights that would be helpful at night in rural areas where lighting is unreliable. The Holmatro unit also has the option to use color coded hoses which include “hose inside a hose” that will make it easier for responders to keep track of what equipment to use. Also, spreaders and cutters can be used at the same time, rather than having to switch from one to the other, which could save valuable time during an extraction.
Wilborn moved to purchase the Holmatro unit from Conrad Fire, the only Kansas based company of the three, for $19,260, to come from the special equipment fund. Van Brimmer seconded and the purchase was approved.

New truck needed
The department will begin looking into buying a newer truck in the very near future, council members learned, after one of its pumpers died over the weekend. For this reason, Stricker asked that the funds for the new extraction equipment come from the special equipment fund, rather than the department’s truck replacement fund. There is already over $100,000 in the fund that has been socked away over the past few decades from contributions set aside since the 1980s by townships in the service area and matched by the City of Hoisington.
Still, the new truck will cost the city upwards of $350,000, Stricker said. That is for the vehicle only. Equipment on the expired truck, however, can be transferred to the new vehicle when it is delivered.
The department is only in the preliminary stages of gathering information and estimates on a new truck, and will present their findings at a future meeting. The fire department has a total of three pumpers, with one kept in the city at all times, and two for responding to rural fires. In the meantime, it will rely on its remaining 1996 pumper and mutual aid, Stricker said.
A new truck will need to be ordered soon, as it could take up to a year for it to be delivered. That’s a concern because it was two years ago that the department was inspected and it’s ISO rating set at five, Stricker said. He has also recently learned that the frequency of inspections is expected to increase from almost every 10 years to every five years.
Without that pumper, the rating could go up, which would mean an increase in homeowners insurance costs for area residents.