As the city of North Vernon works to become self-sufficient, providing fire coverage for the entire city, Fire Chief Mike Cole provided members of the City Council with a “road-map” of what it will take to get there.
Chief Cole explained that, typically, North Vernon doesn’t see many large fires. The need, he says, is in rescue training and equipment. Cole says that when he talks to representatives of area factories, they speak about the need for this type of service from the department. Cole says that he is hopeful that these businesses will be willing to contribute to the purchase of the needed equipment and training.
Cole says that one of his more immediate goals is to get better personnel coverage for the department, with six firefighters on each shift. Doing so, he says, will likely improve response efforts and reduce the need for other departments to help in responding to local fires.
Cole also discussed capital needs, including a new fire station. He says that one of the buildings is utilized as a storage facility for a spare engine, while another station on Madison Avenue houses personnel. In the coming years, Cole told council members that he would like to see a new station built on the city’s east side.
The most expensive item on Chief Cole’s list was an aerial truck. He says that he expects the city’s current truck to either need replaced, or refurbished, within five years. Today’s cost for refurbishing is approximately $500,000. The cost for a new, “bare-bones” aerial truck, said Cole, is $1.5 million. He stressed that, even though the vehicle would be brand new, it would not have the amenities that the city’s current truck has.
Cole stressed to the council that the capital needs aren’t immediate, but he wants the body to be aware of what will be coming in the future. Council members thanked the chief for his forward-thinking, noting that knowing what is coming may help them figure out different ways to possibly pay for the department’s needs.