Firemen’s needs addressed by public safety committee

Councilmen Jason Raines and Dean Broersma examine a Stryker PowerPro cot currently on loan to the Sunnyside Fire Department. The department is considering replacing its older cots with this option, which has automatic lifting that can be controlled by a single EMT.

Photo by Laura Gjovaag
Councilmen Jason Raines and Dean Broersma examine a Stryker PowerPro cot currently on loan to the Sunnyside Fire Department. The department is considering replacing its older cots with this option, which has automatic lifting that can be controlled by a single EMT.



Sunnyside Fire Chief Aaron Markham updated the subcommittee for public safety on the status of the fire department’s equipment and apparatus Monday night, emphasizing what will need to be replaced in the next decade so the city can plan ahead.

The city currently has three fire engines in its fleet, including 32-year-old Engine 12, which is well past its recommended lifetime of 25 years. Engine 11 is 17 years old and the city needs to consider replacing it in the next few years, Markham said.

The city also co-owns Engine 213 with Yakima County Fire District #5. That engine is only 10 years old.

The bond local voters approved that allowed the city to upgrade the fire station also included money to purchase a ladder truck. A call for bids on a ladder truck with a 100-foot aerial platform has gone out, with bids due Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Markham said the city will know whether or not it can afford a ladder truck with a platform once the bids are opened. If not, the city could opt to purchase a ladder truck without a platform on the end.

The platform is useful because it allows multiple firefighters at the end of the ladder, gives firefighters a more secure place to work from and makes rescues easier.

The new ladder truck may also benefit Grandview, according to Markham. He explained the Grandview Fire Department wants to upgrade its ladder truck. The cities are considering a sharing option that would give Grandview partial ownership of Sunnyside’s new truck in return for paying a portion of the costs.

Markham also told the subcommittee members the city needs to devise a funding plan for the future purchases of fire engines. He pointed out that there is no fund that allows the city to put money away for new engines. Instead, the city generally has to absorb the cost over a couple of years.

In addition to the trucks, Markham also listed equipment that the fire department needs to replace within the next few years, most notably self-contained breathing apparatus bottles, good for 45 or 60 minutes. At between $1,200 and $1,500 each, the department needs four bottles immediately, but has 42 bottles that will expire in 2019.

The fire department also recently purchased a new ambulance. Once it is delivered, two ambulances currently in service will be remounted, saving the city on maintenance costs.

Markham said the fire department also needs to replace the cots in the ambulances. The EMS crews are currently testing a Stryker PowerPro cot allows a single EMT to control the stretcher, instead of requiring two people to lift or lower it. Markham said the equipment has received a thumbs up from his crews.

At the end of the presentation, Subcommittee Chair Jason Raines praised Markham for looking at a sharing option with Grandview for the ladder truck. Councilman Dean Broersma noted equipment costs for the fire department will be high in the next few years.

“That’s a lot of zeroes,” he said as he added up the costs of various pieces of equipment.



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