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The purpose of the Fire Mechanics Section is to promote standardization of fire apparatus and equipment preventative maintenance, improve safety standards and practices, promote workshops, conferences, and seminars related to the purposes of this Section, and to promote cost savings through standardization of building and equipment purchasing and maintenance.

RECENT FIRE MECHANIC NEWS

Posted: Jan 20, 2022

Ambulance Use Reduces Wear on Salem (OH) Fire Department’s Apparatus

The Salem (OH) Fire Department spent the majority of last year’s shifts on medical calls, and in doing so arrived via ambulance, as opposed to fire truck, for the last six months—an arrangement that has worked out well, reports morningjournalnews.com.

Since June, the department’s new Engine 2 went out on 307 calls, while the ambulance ran 889 calls. Old Engine 2 had 764 calls the first half of 2021, pre-ambulance, the report says. That, extrapolated over the life of the apparatus, can be significant.

The department used CARES Act funding to pay for the ambulance, a heart monitor, and a CPR-performing Lucas device in 2020 for $193,887, and it was delivered in 2021. Last year, $48,205 in CARES Act funding was used to purchase a power load cot system and a stair chair for it, among other equipment, according to the report.

Out of the 2,147 total calls in 2021, 1,472 were of the EMS variety, a jump from 1,337 such calls the year prior. Officials say that medical calls didn’t increase because of the ambulance—the department would have attended with Engine 2 regardless.

The department’s average response time remained at 4.13 minutes; training hours increased from 2,434 hours to 2,740.7 hours; inspections increased from 183 to 193 and classes/tours; extinguisher training at businesses decreased from 15 to 14; and grants/fees collected increased from $1,200 to $1,403, the report notes.

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Posted: Jan 20, 2022

Rural Fire Department Hero “Tin Shed” Todd Vogelgesang Retires

A true advocate for fire departments in Minnesota has retired.

Todd Vogelgesang, better known as “Tin Shed Todd,” was able to get virtually millions of dollars in excess property to departments, especially those serving the small rural communities. From hoses to nozzles to turn-out gear to apparatus, Todd was the “go to” person who seemed to be always there to help.

The walls in his Grand Rapids office contained dozens of pictures of surplus engines and water tenders which went to fire departments. The “tin shed” contained all kinds of surplus equipment including those infamous green army blankets. Minnesota DNR officials have high praise for Todd.

“He changed the world for local fire departments one piece of re-purposed excess federal property at a time,” said an official DNR statement. “He has built a long-standing and incredible career (over 40 years) extending generosity, support, and dependability to those who deserve it most, Minnesota’s rural fire department.”

Short in stature, but tall in the minds of the state’s fire service, Todd started out his Minnesota DNR career in the early 1980’s as a fire planner. In this position, Todd and his team quickly recognized that the small, rural fire departments struggled to prevent and control wildfires because they lacked basic tools and fire suppression equipment.

One of Todd’s team members discovered that federal agencies and the military had collected a so called “plethora” of idle equipment ranging from trucks to even medical supplies. This equipment would greatly benefit the rural fire programs and departments. Todd was promoted to Excess Property Fire Specialist in 1982. The rest, as most of us know, is history. Todd’s hard work resulted in the Minnesota DNR’s current Rural Fire Program.

One of Todd’s greatest attributes included his ability to reach out across the state to let the rural fire programs and firefighters know about the Federal Excess Property Program. Whether it was a regional fire school or the Minnesota State Fair, Todd and the team were there spreading the word.

Upon his retirement, Todd recognizes that much more work needs to be done as small towns, especially those with fewer than 10,000, need even more assistance. Todd and his incredible team built the program from the ground up. While Todd has now transitioned to retired life, he departments knowing the program he helped to build is left in the hands of his incredible Minnesota DNR Team.

Thank you, Todd! Please know that what you have done to help Minnesota’s fire department is beyond words.

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Posted: Jan 20, 2022

Chula Vista (CA) Fire Department Opens Two New Tax-Funded Stations to Improve Critical Infrastructure

By Alan M. Petrillo

The Chula Vista (CA) Fire Department last year opened two new single-story fire stations—Fire Station 5 at 341 Orange Ave. and Fire Station 3 at 100 Moss St.—that were paid for by the voter-approved Measure P, a 10-year, half-cent sales tax designed to be used to fund critical infrastructure projects.

The two stations follow on the heels of the construction of the two-story Fire Station 10 two years prior that serves the master-planned community of Millenia located in southeast Chula Vista.

Josh Sanders, Chula Vista Fire’s captain and public information officer, says that as one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, Chula Vista needed to increase its number of fire stations, now at 10 but expected to rise to 12 by 2025. He notes that 2021 was Chula Vista’s centennial year, as well as the year it began the fire department’s ambulance transport system to augment its Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance response, which required the department to get more apparatus under one roof in various parts of the city.

“Fire Station 5 is 12,310 square feet and has three double-deep, drive-through apparatus bays, and 10 individual bunk rooms,” Sanders points out. “The station holds a Type 1 engine, a cross-staffed OES (Office of Emergency Services) Type 3 wildland engine, and two medic ambulances, each staffed by a paramedic and emergency medical technician (EMT).” He adds that on-site improvements include personnel and public parking, a generator, fueling station, hose-drying area, landscaping, and storm water biofiltration areas.

Jeff Katz Architecture designed and built Fire Station 5 with three double-deep, drive through apparatus bays, and ten individual bunk rooms for Chula Vista (CA) Fire Department. (Photos courtesy of Jeff Katz Architecture/Pablo Mason.)

Christie Jewett, design principal at Jeff Katz Architecture, which designed and built all three stations, says Fire Station 5 shares a community complex with a library, and that the design had to be complementary to the surrounding area of single-story residences. “Off the apparatus bays there is a full decontamination room holding a washer/extractor, turnout gear drying cabinet, commercial grade washer and dryer, a large decon sink area, and a decon shower,” Jewett says. “There’s also a single-occupancy restroom off the bays, as well as a turnout gear storage room with GearGrid 30-by-30-inch lockers with storage beneath them.”

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Posted: Jan 20, 2022

Photo of the Day: January 20, 2022

Sutphen—Westmere (NY) Fire Department SPH112 platform quint. Monarch cab and chassis; Cummins X12 500-hp engine; Hale Qmax 1,500-gpm pump; 300-gallon polypropylene water tank; 112-foot platform ladder; Harrison 10-kW generator. Dealer: Phil Vander Molen, Vander Molen Fire Apparatus Sales and Service, Syracuse, NY.

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Fire Mechanics Section Board

Chair

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Chair

Elliot Courage
North Whatcom Fire & Rescue
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Vice Chair

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Vice Chair

Mike Smith 
Pierce County Fire District #5
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Secretary

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Secretary

Greg Bach
South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue
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Director #1

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #1

Doug Jones
South Kitsap Fire & Rescue
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Director #2

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #2

Paul Spencer 
Fire Fleet Maintenance LLC
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Director #3

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #3

Jim Morris
Mountain View Fire Department
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Director #4

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #4

Arnie Kuchta

Clark County Fire District 6

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Director #6

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #6

Brett Annear
Kitsap County Fire District 18
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Director #5

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Director #5

Jay Jacks
Camano Island Fire & Rescue
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Legislative Representative

Posted: Oct 21, 2015

Legislative Representative

TBD
TBD
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Immediate Past Chair

Posted: Oct 20, 2015

Immediate Past Chair

Brian Fortner
Graham Fire & Rescue

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