Now in 1998, the company looks toward to the twenty- first century and the challenges ahead such as: better equipment, training, and knowledge of our job.
In the near future the district will be replacing the tower ladder and the purchase of a new truck should be coming this year To better meet the needs of the changing community, the Fire District #12 is not only assisting the Colonia First Aid Squad with calls, financial contributions but also is contemplating taking over the squad financially. In 1998 we will be buying the Colonia First Aid Squad another new ambulance and buying the better of the two old ones. This will free up money for the squad to pay a crew to man an ambulance during the day. By us owning the ambulances we can insure them and maintain them, helping the squad financially stay afloat until more can be done to help the community.
In 1998 the fire budget was defeated in a close vote, also a question to expand the firehouse was also defeated. This is the second time that a budget or question was defeated to anyone's knowledge. We still need the office space and will try again next year to get addition passed by a different means. The township council cut forty thousand dollars from our budget.
Also in 1998 we ordered a new Ford Expedition to be the new chief's car and the 1991 suburban will be passed down to the fire prevention bureau, both will be equipped with lap top computers, printers and cell phones. The 1986 ford wagon that the bureau used will be sold, as was the 1979 suburban this year. Also ordered was the replacement of our twenty six-year-old tower ladder. A new L.T.I. Ladder Tower will replace the Aerialscope. It will be a lot different than what we have now; this one will have a 2000 G.P.M. single stage pump and a 93' climbable ladder. The problem of cabinet space no longer exist with this truck, every bit of available space on this truck was utilized for storage of equipment.
In 1998 we received our new Chief's car a 1998 Ford Expedition. This car was set up with all new radios to give the chief the ability to communicate with everyone he has to. A new emergency lighting system was added for better visibility responding to or being at a fire scene.
Also in 1998 we purchased a new Ambulance for the Colonia First Aid Squad. It was a two-year-old demo; (this is what squad wanted). It was a much bigger rig and a lot more money when new. We purchased an Emergency One ambulance again like in 1993 for seventy nine thousand dollars. On the day before delivery the older rig that the squad owned was in an accident, hit broadside while transporting someone to the hospital. Everyone was okay but the rig was totaled. Thanks to good planning by the squad the rig was replaced with a new one. After delivery of the new rig the Fire Commissioners took ownership of that rig from the squad and now own all the rigs. The new ambulance was purchased for seventy eight thousand dollars (seventy three thousand from insurance company) from Wheeled Coach. This rig is about the same as the demo from E-One.
Also in 1998 the squad had asked us if they could get the old inspectors car (1986 Ford station wagon). We felt that the car was on it's last leg and not worth repairing, so the squad got a donation of a 1986 Chevy Caprice from the South Old Bridge Fire Commissioners. This donation was made through the Colonia Board of Fire Commissioners, and we registered it in the fire company name and let the squad use it as a first responder car. This was the first in the township.
In 1998 we started a trench rescue /confined space team. All the necessary equipment was purchased and the Colonia First Aid Squad gave us the old ambulance to use for the team. This team is combined with the Keasbey Fire Department. Within the first few months of the team they responded to calls in Perth Amboy and Sayreville.
In 1998 we are into our twenty fifth year of escorting Santa around town. We now go out with as many as three pumpers with Santa riding at the pump panels. We stopped Santa from riding on top of the hose beds a few years ago because the pumpers are so much higher now and safety was getting to be a major concern. We had a couple of close calls with branches hitting firemen or Santa. We still see a lot of enthusiasm from the people of our district, they are out there every year waiting for us, many of them were the kids that sat on Santa's lap and now their kids were doing the same. A lot has changed in twenty-five years but Santa is stilled welcomed every year, some things never change.
The 1999 elections brought LOSAP (Length of Service Awards Program) this will allow the Board of Fire Commissioners to put money aside each year for the firemen as long as they make their drills and calls for the year. This will hopefully help keep the men we have and bring new members in. Since the cost of the addition is way less than the reported cost the Board will put money away each year to pay for the addition in the next couple of years.
In June of 1999 we took delivery of our new tower ladder. It is a L.T.I.( Ladder Tower Inc) It has a 2000 G.P.M. pump, 93' steel ladder,6 cabinets on each side and one in the rear, 15,000 kw Amps hydrogenertor, 6 man American La France cab,a/c,auto,series 60 Detroit diesel, carries 700' 5" hose, 1 2" preconnect with solid bore nozzle, 1 3" preconnect with solid bore nozzle, dual nozzles in bucket capable of flowing over 2000gpm, 200' of 2" hose in cabinets attached to bucket, parapit adapters on each side of bucket. The price of this truck was $735,000.00 but because the commissioners were able to get $35,000.00 for a trade in on the aerialscope ( it was only worth $15,000.00 because it was a New York City truck) and they saved another $55,000.00 by putting money up front and getting 9% interest on that money off the price of the truck. Total money paid out to L.T.I. was $645,000.00 There was a few problems with truck in the beginning but they were worked out.
Also in 1999 we started an Explorer program in the fire department which has worked out well, we have 10 explorers and they are trained up to wearing air packs. They ride on all calls and can do everything but enter a burning building, and they also have restricted hours that they can ride.
Also in 1999 the trench rescue team had it's first trench rescue in Colonia, a backhoe operator was working on a trench across the street from the Colonia First Aid Squad building, when he entered the trench the wall collapsed on him burying him from the waist down. The fire department was called and implemented the rest of the team( Keasbey Fire Department). Mutual aid was called for additional manpower to help remove dirt and stabilize the incident. A total of 8 fire departments responded to the scene or stood by o cover Colonia in case of another fire call. The incident was brought to a successful conclusion when the man was freed with no major injuries, in a short period of time.
Also in 1999 the fire departments of Woodbridge Township went to one dispatch center. All fire and first aid calls now come out of the 911 system and goes to the Fords Firehouse for dispatching.
In 1999 our 1993 E-One Hush Rescue Pumper was featured in a book by MBI Publishing Company called Pumpers Workhorse Fire Engines by Larry Shapiro. It was a picture with the light tower up and the roll up cabinets open to see rescue equipment layout. It was on page 105 and it was about a third of a page.