New EH Fire & EMS truck an extension of support

New EH Fire & EMS truck an extension of support
Dave Mast

Through the community support it receives, East Holmes Fire & EMS was able to purchase a new firetruck to add to the stable of vehicles it uses to serve the community.


While the new East Holmes Fire & EMS pumper fire truck might be an updated version of the old #801, its job as the main engine for the department will carry on the same tradition of serving and supporting those in distress in the community when the time comes for the team members to hop on board and respond to an emergency.

New pumper truck #801, which was built by Rosenbauer American, went into service at the end of June and replaced the former pumper that was purchased in 1998. That truck was sold to a department in Macon County, Georgia, where it will continue to be put to good use as a frontline truck.

It has already been put to use, and according to John Schlabach, East Holmes Fire & EMS chief, the upgrade in trucks was only possible because of the people throughout the community who have shown support for EH Fire & EMS.

“We couldn’t have purchased this without the support of our community,” Schlabach said. “Our community has supported us so well throughout the years, and they are the reason that we work so hard to maintain the best equipment and trucks. Because we know in the end the money they provide to us is going to be turned right back into equipment that is going to serve them, so we are very grateful to have that type of relationship.”

Schlabach said the crew from Georgia has been to the Berlin station on several occasions, and they have said they like the way East Holmes Fire & EMS takes care of its equipment including its trucks.

“I think that was what attracted them to buying this truck,” Schlabach said. “Hopefully it will serve them as well as it served us.”

Schlabach said saying goodbye to a truck that has served them well was a little sentimental, noting the truck has been a part of the team for as long as some of the old-timers in the department, but the staff liked the set-up of the old truck so much they wanted to emulate a large portion of it with the new truck.

“The new truck is a bit of a mirror image of the old truck, only with newer technology,” Schlabach said.

The cost of purchasing a new pumper truck is not cheap. After selling the former pumper for $67,500, East Holmes Fire & EMS purchased the new pumper for $590,000. Compare that to the cost of the old truck, which was purchased new in 1998 at a cost of $275,000, and one can see the rising expenses of purchasing new fire trucks.

The new truck will pump 2,000 gallons per minute, and Schlabach said they added 200-gallon capacity to increase the capacity. The truck also will include new LED lighting and other key upgrades, and Schlabach said it is important for the department to be able to serve the community as well as possible. That means upgrading in technology and equipment from time to time.

“We understand that the people of East Holmes have willingly given to us and continue to do so. Therefore we want to make sure we are spending every penny very wisely,” Schlabach said. “We want to have good equipment that is ready to go when needed, and our guys have done a really great job of taking great care of the equipment we have. That is key.”

With 10 vehicles and two trailers, there is much to care for. The new truck’s cab and chassis were built in Wyoming, Minnesota and then transferred to Lions, South Dakota, where the truck was nearly finished. One final leg of the process brought it to Canton, where they put on the finishing details to make sure everything was picture-perfect. It is a custom-made truck the department was able to build from the ground up, implementing all of the tools, gadgets and compartments they deemed necessary to expertly perform their duties.

“Everything is custom-designed,” Schlabach said. “From the engine and transmission to the tank size and compartments, we had a say in everything that went into it.”

Once the truck arrived, the department members took over the task of moving all of the equipment from the old truck into the new one and also took on the chore of mounting the tools and equipment and wiring the radios and electronics.

With East Holmes Fire & EMS continuing to run solely on volunteer response, the team members had to put in the necessary time to learn the new system when they could. According to Schlabach, the crew runs between 600-700 runs each year, and the new pumper truck has already become a critical part of them serving their community.

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