Local fire department acquires new fire truck

New Bremen’s new fire truck arrived on Thursday last week and the fire department has been busy getting it ready for service.

The New Bremen German Township Fire Department has received their new fire truck. The process started in late 2018 when a committee was formed to meet once a month to work out exactly what the department’s needs were.

“By the end of 2019 we felt that the specs were what we wanted,” said Firefighter Rodney Bertke. Bertke explained that in 2020 when COVID hit, the village of New Bremen decided they were going to wait to accept bids and to sign contracts for the new truck.

“They waited until August of 2021 until they finally signed a contract to purchase,” said Bertke. He said that they were working with Findlay Fire Service but that the company was bought out by Atlantic Emergency Services in the middle of the deal, but that their sales rep remained the same throughout the process.

“He met us in Appleton Wisconsin in May of 2022 and went over the final drawing specs and approval of all the line items on it,” said Bertke. By November of 2022 the truck had entered production, and was finished in late March of this year.

“Took about two weeks before they sent it to Springboro, Ohio, where Atlantic Emergency Services has one of their facilities to go over the truck,” said Bertke. The truck arrived in New Bremen

on Thursday last week.

The new Pierce fire truck will be replacing a 30 year old fire truck that was bought new by the department in 1991. The old truck had twin front suction, while the new one only has one, and Bertke said that relates to how Pierce has changed over time.

“At the time it was one of the things Pierce was more adaptable to true customization. They don’t do that now,” explained Bertke. He said that typically there is a 30 year cycle in replacing fire trucks. Since New Bremen’s department has three of the trucks, that means that about every 10 years, they should see a new truck. “If they’re on a 30 year cycle, every 10 years you get a new one. You’re updating your fleet.”

The new truck brings with it new technology as well, and that technology largely focuses on firefighter safety and the ability to communicate while on a call.

“This one is equipped with more safety features in the cab. You have airbags and rollover protection on the cab.

There are more features for looking out for the safety of the firefighters themselves,” explained Bertke. He said that the trucks includes a system where firefighters can talk to one another in the truck, and that those headsets also offer ear protection as well.

“The headsets are noise canceling. People don’t realize how many audible decibels you’re exposed to,” said Bertke. He said they’ll also be able to talk to dispatch and fire commanders on scene.

Bertke explained that a lot of the features on the truck are the similar to the old truck capability wise. He said that one issue they have to deal with is that there are a lot of farmhouses that sit in the middle of a one mile by one mile square, and that it requires a lot of hose.

“You’re 2,000-2,500 feet away from the road to the house, so we have to lay house. This truck will have 1,800 feet of 5 inch hose,” said Bertke. He said that one of its roles would be to sit at the end of the lane and provide water to units closer to the fire.

“It’s really equipped like our other engines. It has a set of extrication tools on it,” said Bertke. He said that it also has the capacity to be a stand-alone unit for smaller, single room fires, if necessary.

“It can also role on a Code 4 accident,” said Bertke. A Code 4 accident is an automobile accident that involves injuries.

Another addition to the capabilities is an onboard generator.

“When we get to a scene, we’ll have plenty of power if we need electric tools,” said Bertke. He said that those tools, are also starting to move towards being battery power. Bertke said that you don’t necessarily need electric to run those tools, but that you would need electric to recharge their batteries when depleted.

“A lot of the tools, hoses, and fittings will transfer over. We’ll be upgrading some of our tools,” said Bertke. He said that as a department, they’ve raised money and got a new set of extrication tools that are battery operated.

“This truck does have a pre-plumbed Husky Foam System. So with fighting Class A fires, we can use foam,” said Bertke. He said that this is an upgrade from the previous truck, which would require them to use a five gallon bucket filled with foam making solution to draw from and mix. “If we need more foam, we always have resources within the county.”

“We’re absolutely excited to get a new engine, it’s the first new one since 1991,” said Bertke. He said that the new truck was modeled off the department’s latest engine that they bought used.

“We wanted to keep it similar so there isn’t a large learning curve from the one we have,” explained Bertke. He said that as time has progressed, there are growing demands on fire fighting apparatus so they keep getting larger. “Apparatus tends to get a bit bigger to equip it with all the things that you’re truly going to run into surprises with.”

Bertke said that the public will be able to view the engine any time they’d like, but that it will also be at their annual Fireman’s Picnic on the fourth Saturday in July.

“This truck will be on display there. The public can see it and they can see in it. Well have it out there,” said Bertke.