KAMIAH — Having signed off authority for new chief Bill Arsenault to liquidate surplus, and having signed off on $25,000 for new fire department and another $25,000 for emergency medical service supplies, the city council is moving forward with a resolution to rectify a difference in the pay city firefighters and EMTs get for their on-call, hourly and drill time. Under the status quo, city EMTs have been paid about twice as much as city firefighters when the groups drill together, and the resolution would pay a flat amount for drill.
The council also directed the chief to put together a proposal for reconstruction in the fire station, having discussed the costs involved with finishing an upstairs room, which would involve 26 pieces of sheetrock plus labor. The chief noted other needs around the fire station, including for a radio booster to make signals more clear inside the fire station, and the city attorney advised that the council ought to treat all the improvements as a single project in order avoid running afoul of the state should the costs exceed certain thresholds in the law.
The council approved testing of the air tanks firefighters use to breath in the course of dangerous work, with the chief noting that this is needed to keep the bottles and the firefighters’ packs in service and up to standard. He said the cost will be split with the rural fire district. “We’re looking at close to $5,000,” Arsenault said, “in hydrotesting the bottles so they meet the standard for the ones we have in-date, as well as for the air packs being flow tested.” The chief will be exploring the possibility of pursuing a regionwide grant along with other fire districts and towns that find themselves in the same situation of having to spend $80,000-$100,000 for new bottles during the next few years.
The council approved $25,000 for firefighting equipment, such as saws, nozzels and rescue equipment. Regarding the saws, the chief said he will be checking with the Forest Service and Idaho Department of Lands about buying saws from them that can be converted to use on structures. Other equipment discussed included nozzels that are easier for firefighters to control, trash hooks, and a “ground monitor” capable of pushing 1,000 gallons per minute, which requires a safety feature to shut off the flow automatically should the apparatus lift off the ground.
The council also approved $25,000 for improving the city ambulances with advanced life support equipment.
The chief noted some 200 surplus radios, worth perhaps $100,000, are among the surplus items he asked the council for permission to sell off or provide to other jurisdictions.
New fire helmets were approved at a cost of nearly $7,500, and those were anticipated within the week.
The chief also updated the council on an ongoing expense to enter 800 missing call reports into the state fire marshal’s system, with the entry of 2020 reports to be completed by March and with the state fire marshal’s office having asked that missing data from 2018 and 2019 be filed. The chief, who started Nov. 2, told the council the last time this data reporting was done was in October 2018.