A new fire truck may be coming to the village of Prairie du Sac.
“Our fleet’s aging, so we want to keep up with replacing so we don’t end up with an issue where we have a lot of breakdowns and equipment out of service,” Prairie du Sac Fire Chief James Schulenberg said. “If you look at most businesses, you’ve got a plan in place for scheduled replacement (of) apparatus.”
The proposed budget for the purchase is $900,000, which covers the purchase of the truck and equipment that would go onto it. The proposed amount will be decided upon by the Village Board at their last meeting in November.
The Fire Protection Association has guidelines for fire departments on replacing equipment. The FPA recommends fire apparatus being cycled out within 25 years.
“We’re in that 25-30 year range,” Schulenber said.
The current squad truck, which would be sold if a new truck is purchased, is more than 26 years old, having been acquired in 1992. The oldest fire engine, Engine 2, will be moved to reserve pumper status.
“That will be basically a back up,” Schulenberg said.
The majority of the department’s equipment will be moved to the new truck, reducing the likelihood that two engines, and the requisite firefighters to operate them, will be required to adequately respond to a call.
“Ninety percent of what we’re going to need on any call is on that first truck that’s going out the door,” Schulenburg said. “To be able to house all that on one truck for daytime calls is really essential.”
With fewer people being available for daytime calls than in the past, Schulenburg said this change will help the Fire Department adapt the way it responds to calls.
Schulenberg said some of the benefits of a new truck include better designed chassis and breaks and improved rollover protection. Firefighters will also no longer need to climb on top of the truck to reload hose, which reduces the possibility of accidental injury.
Wildman said the Village’s financial advisor said $900,000 will have an impact of $0.10 increased cost in taxes per $1,000 in property value, translating into $25 on a $250,000 home.
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If approved, financing for the new Fire Truck would begin in 2021.
Having a reserve pumper will also impact the Village’s Insurance Services Office rating, which is one of the metrics that determines insurance costs for property owners.
The higher the class rating the Fire Department and Village receive, the lower the fire insurance costs for residents and businesses.
“It’s not only helping in fire protection, it’s also helping the private home owner or the private business owner on what they pay on their insurance,” said Village Administrator Alan Wildman.
Currently, the Prairie du Sac Fire Department and Village have an ISO rating of Four, with One being the highest rating possible.
A rating of “10 is basically, you’ve got a bucket in the corner to throw water on a fire,” Wildman said.
Schulenberg said he hopes to see the ISO rating move up to a Three.
We’ve got a pretty good shot, actually, of getting up to a Two,” Schulenburg said. “There’s very few fire departments at a Two.”
Wildman said a water system study being conducted by the Village, which looks at water flows from fire hydrants, may also positively impact the ISO rating.
Schulenberg and Wildman said the Fire Department’s responsibility in mutual aid calls is also a factor, as the Village’s firefighters will often respond to calls in other areas which require more equipment and personnel than the local department has available.
The Village Board will decide on the budget proposal for a new fire truck at their last meeting in November.