By Sarah Wright
SYRACUSE — At their respective meetings, Monday, Feb. 8, the Turkey Creek Fire Territory Executive Board and the Turkey Creek Township Advisory Board gave their approval for a mutual aid agreement between 14 Kosciusko County public safety entities and the Syracuse-Turkey Creek Fire Territory.
“In the agreement, mutual aid is covered for the first 24 hours, and after that, the requesting jurisdiction can be charged,” Chief Mickey Scott explained. “This agreement needs to be in place so that if we should receive funds from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), we are covered and can collect those funds.”
The MAA is also needed to participate in a fiscal year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant, submitted in cooperation with the Kosciusko County Fire Association for emergency radio communications systems.
“With the new emergency radio communications system that is being constructed in Kosciusko County, and in order to provide better interoperability for communication between our department and other emergency services in adjacent counties when we are providing or receiving mutual aid from those departments, there is a need to upgrade our emergency radios,” Scott said.
He shared a J&K Communications Inc. quote of $210,174.92 to replace the fire territory’s emergency radio system to include 700 MHz communication capabilities. The AFG would provide 90% of the funding, leaving the fire territory to provide 10% or about $15,000 to $20,000.
Attorney Andrew Grossnickle questioned insurance aspects of the MAA, particularly liability insurance. Scott stated each department should have it; each department would cover their own firefighters, barring negligence on the scene due to the department receiving mutual aid. Scott added he would get clarification on the insurance.
In addition to the MAA, both boards separately approved the pursuit of the AFG. The results of the grant should be learned in July or August. Scott noted if the grant is not awarded, the territory has budgeted for the radios in 2022.
• The fire territory had 15 total fire runs and 104 EMS runs in January.
• The fire department had utilized 92.94% of the 2020 Turkey Creek Fire Territory operations budget. At the end of January 2021, it has used 5.15% of the 2021 budget.
• In January, fire and EMS personnel logged 362 hours of training, including ice rescue training; a webinar by John Ceriello, New York City Fire Department, on backdrafts, smoke explosions and other fireground phenomena; pre-hospital fluid resuscitation; and training on the new CPAP unit.
• Nitrous oxide delivery systems have been ordered and received.
• Milestone Construction Inc. and Strahm Building solutions are currently in the process of removing defective Armorpoxy flooring in both stations and replacing it with new Armorpoxy flooring. The project should be completed soon.
• Scott requested approval to move forward with obtaining two RIT packs, purchasing 23 quick disconnect SCBA regulators and having existing SCBAs retrofitted to accommodate the quick disconnect SCBA regulators from Hoosier Fire Equipment Inc. for up to $40,000. He noted this would ensure firefighters don’t have to share, reducing the risk of exposure to different diseases like COVID-19. Both the fire board and township board approved the motion; the request will be taken to the Syracuse Town Council prior to purchase.
• Geoffrey Ellingwood and Joshua Taylor completed their paramedic training, which began in April 2019, with both passing the practical skills examination and written examination for National Registry Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic and are now NREMT Paramedic certified.
• A probationary firefighter/EMT began full-time employment Feb. 1, and a firefighter/paramedic will begin their probationary period Feb. 15.
• An uptick in EMS calls to Noble County was noted, which went from 24 in 2020 to 12 calls just in January. Bill Dixon said, “We’ve had this discussion before about Parkview. They went in, they low bid that contract over there in Noble County and then they expect us to carry their water. That’s got to come to an end.” Solutions were discussed, including charging Parkview.
• Board members signed anti-nepotism and conflicts of interest policies, which were certified by Grossnickle.