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Trustees back first responders


August 22, 2012

Township trustees said they'll approve a resolution to allow the first responder program if firefighters get the grant the volunteer department's seeking to pay for equipment.

"If they get the grant, we'll have a first responder program," Trustee Chairman Cliff Mix said Wednesday.

Trustees gave firefighters the go-ahead to apply for the grant through the Salem Community Foundation, approving a resolution giving them permission to submit the application. If the fire department receives the funding, the trustees said they'll approve another resolution to allow the first responder program.

Trustees also awarded a bid for a new fire truck to be purchased and agreed to transfer the money to cover the cost.

All the actions prompted thanks from the firefighters, who have been talking with trustees for several months regarding the first responder program and the new truck, with numerous questions raised over that time by both sides.

"I thank you guys very much," Fire Chief Bruce Whitcher said.

The fire department had first applied for money from the Salem Community Foundation in the spring, but was told a resolution of support needed to be written by the trustees. The deadline for getting the resolution passed for the first round of grant awards expired, with no resolution approved, then questions were raised about what type of calls first responders would answer.

One firefighter said they felt like they were getting stonewalled regarding the first responder program.

The firefighters are applying for $8,345, with $5,445 to cover equipment purchases and the rest to cover training. The department already has enough firefighters certified to run the program. The department has eight firefighters certified as basic EMTs, one certified at the first responder level and one certified as an intermediate EMT. The equipment to be purchased will include two automated external defibrillators, oxygen, EMT equipment and first aid-type equipment.

The Salem Community Foundation board meets on Sept. 26 regarding the applications and will issue the awards by Oct. 11, Fiscal Officer Susan Johnston said.

"I'm excited for the citizens," Whitcher said. "We can help them out. We're all about protecting them and keeping them safe."

Once the program is up and running, he said they can apply for grants every year, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to cover their equipment and training costs. He stressed that they have no intent of ever transporting patients. The plan is to run like the Salem Fire Department does, as first responders to medicals along with the private ambulance companies.

For the fire truck, trustees opened bids last month for a new pumper truck, with the low bid totaling $344,988 from Warren Fire Equipment for a KME model. The other bid came from Tri State Fire Apparatus for a Toyne pumper, with one model for $392,844 and another model for $374,025.

Trustees wanted to know if state purchasing was considered or checked before they went out for bid, asking if the low bidder could provide them with a state purchase price to see if it was lower.

Mix read a letter received from Warren Fire Equipment which said the concession in this case through legal bid was more generous and they were able to "pass the savings on to Perry Township."

Trustees accepted the bid of Warren Fire Equipment for $344,988 and noted a payment discount they'll receive of $6,905, bringing the cost down to $338,083. They agreed to transfer money from the fire levy and safety forces levy into the general fund to cover the cost.

In other business, Trustee Don Kendrick said they received one zoning or building permit this month.

He also reminded residents that since they held the regular meeting Wednesday, they won't be meeting Monday. The next trustee meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at



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