Bertrand Twp. citizens deserve safe, efficient equipment

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Imagine a loved one has been taken to the hospital, and the doctor has decided that an emergency surgery is necessary. Unfortunately, the equipment necessary for the surgery is on its last leg, and it presents a risk to the physicians operating it. Although the hospital had the money to purchase newer, safer equipment, they have not done so. Instead, the doctor is left to use the older equipment, hoping that it holds on through one more procedure, and that he is not injured in the process.

This may seem to be a ludicrous situation, and that’s because it is. We expect the people who keep us healthy to use the best equipment possible to ensure our safety, so shouldn’t that concept carry across the board?

This Thursday, residents of Bertrand Township are invited to a public meeting to discuss the purchase of a new fire truck. The purchase would replace an old truck currently used to battle structure fires in Bertrand Township, and, similar to the aging equipment in the emergency surgery analogy, it is only a matter of time before the truck fails or a firefighter is in injured while riding in it.

This vehicle has an open cab, which means firefighters riding the truck, but not in the driver or passenger seats, are exposed to the elements. This puts the firefighters on their way to emergency situations in danger, which puts the people awaiting the firefighters in danger.

It is not surprising that the project — which comes with a $500,000 price tag — has raised some questions on behalf of a number of residents, so we commend the township’s efforts to hear those concerns.

Spending tax dollars wisely and being good stewards of public dollars is vitally important, as is having an open and transparent process when making decisions like this. That is what this meeting is about.

Still, the decision to purchase a new fire truck should be an easy one.

The fire truck that the township proposes replacing is 28 years old, and the National Fire Protection Agency recommends that fire trucks be replaced when they are 20 years old. The newest fire truck the department owns is 17 years old, meaning by NFPA standards it will need to be replaced in three years.

Township officials say they have enough money for the fire truck, and while the handful of residents opposing the purchase feel the funds could be spent elsewhere, we feel this is a necessary purchase for the township, and the decision needs to be made quickly, before the bids expire and the cost for the project gets even higher.

Timing is everything in emergency situations, and like some undergoing emergency surgery, the people of Bertrand Township deserve the most efficient and safest equipment possible.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.