Voters in the Stony Brook Fire District will have a chance to say “yes” to the future.
A special election will take place Aug. 7 in the fire district on a proposition to give the board of fire commissioners authorization to purchase two Spartan pumper trucks with a capacity for 1,250 gallons per minute and related equipment for a cost not exceeding $1.4 million.
Fire district commissioner Brian McAllister said the new pumpers, manufactured by Spartan Motors, will replace two 1994 models currently in use by the district. He said pumpers are emergency vehicles that carry the water tank, firefighting tools and hoses. The volunteers need the trucks for any water work during a fire, while ladder trucks are utilized during rescue efforts such as roof cutting or breaking down doors.
McAllister said typically after 25 years emergency vehicles are pulled out of service. Emergency vehicles experience more wear and tear than the average car, especially on the brakes, according to the fire commissioner.
“It’s not normal driving,” he said. “It’s always emergency response, so that puts excess wear on the vehicles. And the vehicles themselves are already 30- or 40,0000 pounds.”
McAllister said there has been a lot of advances in technology and firefighting standards since the 1994 trucks were made, including with data and digital control centers. He said the pump that operates the water is more advanced and the tanks are made of a more flexible material than in the past, which allows for more storage space in the vehicle. Another advantage is that the new pumpers will require less maintenance than older models and therefore will be on the road more, since vehicles needing maintenance are often taken out of service temporarily while being repaired.
Before putting the proposition up for vote, he said the fire district put together a committee that looked at pumpers from various manufacturers and decided what the firehouses needed. The committee sat with a spec writer, visited neighboring departments to inspect their trucks and searched for manufacturers who could meet their requirements. A public informational meeting was held July 17 to allow residents the opportunity to ask any questions.
McAllister said the process took approximately two years, and if the district gets the go-ahead to buy the pumpers, it will be more than a year before the trucks arrive.
“It’s not a fast process but done correctly, spec’d correctly and paying attention to detail, we can try to generate or create a vehicle, in partnership with the manufacturer, for one that will be maintenance-free or at least low maintenance and that will also suit our needs,” McAllister said.
Voters in the Stony Brook Fire District, who were registered with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on or before July 15, can vote in the special election, Tuesday, Aug. 7, between 2 to 9 p.m.
Polls are located at 147 Main St., Stony Brook, for those north of the railroad tracks and at 1402 Stony Brook Road for voters residing south of the railroad tracks.