This article was written for the Pa Fire Police newspaper, and was published May, 2007. Reprinted here by the Author.
The Plainfield Fire Company serves West Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County, with 120 to130 responses per year. The area is predominantly rural. Their Fire Police group consists of seven active members covering a wide range of ages.
In early 2006 they were offered a diesel 1993 Ford Type 3 ambulance for only $2000. Although it’s not unusual for a Cumberland County FD to have a Traffic Unit, no other Fire Department in their second-due area had one, leaving their area in need. The relief association put up the money. The complete support of the Fire Department was achieved as the vehicle could double as a firefighter rehab unit. It has been equipped with hot drinks, water, and is slated for a microwave. It is large enough inside that several firefighters can seek refuge from rain, cold, or heat depending on the circumstances.
During the next seven months, they began to mold the vehicle to their needs. This former ambulance had been sold to a private citizen who used it for his business. As such, it wasn’t a "turn-key" proposition. Until all said and done, the Fire Company will have $8,000 to $10,000 invested on the vehicle.
The vehicle has a high-capacity inverter. They plan to install more scene lighting which potentially will allow release of other FD equipment at incidents. Though the unit just went into service, it was immediately noted that enough equipment is contained to handle the entire incident. This beats the old system of everyone having only enough equipment in their personal cars to meet their own needs.
When asked about an arrow board or a message board, the group explained they didn’t want to sap the FD resources. They will be striking out to the service municipalities for funding and have started seeking corporate sponsors. They’re sending out letters to the adjoining FDs about the unit and wish to gauge the area-wide need. They want to examine the effect the unit has over the next few months - if the Traffic Unit’s busy and well-utilized, they’ll put more resources into it.
Right now they’re carrying:
25 Traffic Cones, 25 Micro Cone flashers with photocells, 8 Collapsible Cones (illuminated)
Barricade Tape, Flares, a 2500 Watt Inverter, an LED Split Traffic-Control Emergency Directional Light Assembly
High and Low Band Radios, an 800 MHz radio, Spare coats, vests & raincoats, 3 rechargeable Flashlights
Fire Extinguisher, 2 folding barricades with lights, 2 LED batons, Water Cooler
Although the Traffic 46 Unit is new to the area, the members of the FD are optimistic it will be well used.
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