The Midway Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) has a new command vehicle in service, a much-needed addition to the department’s response team.
The vehicle, a 2010 Dodge 3/4 ton 4×4 crew cab, will finally provide Fire Chief Walt Osallame with a response unit dedicated to the department. For more than 25 years, Osallame has used his own personal vehicles to respond to incidents, for which he neither asked for nor was provided compensation.
With the sharp increase last summer in emergency calls, Osallame’s vehicles were pushed to the limit, making the purchase of a new command vehicle a necessity.
The truck came from the County of Minburn-Vergeville Fire Department in Vegreville, Alberta, a small town located 100 kilometres east of Edmonton, which had listed it for sale at $20,000. After conversation between the two departments, Minburn generously offered to sell the vehicle to the MVFD as an assist (from one fire departement to another) for a slashed price of $13,000.
When asked for comment, Midway Chief Administrative Officer Penny Feist said, “There was significant wear and tear on Fire Chief Osallame’s vehicle for sure, but, perhaps more importantly, there was risk to injury placed on the chief and to others while responding to an incident without lights and sirens. Risk of liability for both the fire chief and the village was also present.”
“It is well known,” continued Feist, “that in order for an effective and safe response, the Incident Commander (IC) needs to be first on scene to perform an on-site assessment and now, with the new command vehicle, people will be well aware of an ongoing emergency response. With red flashing lights and sirens, the IC will be able to ensure a safe and timely response to emergency situations.”
The vehicle will be used by the fire chief within the fire response area while on duty, and the deputy incident commander on duty will be placed in charge of the command vehicle while the chief is off duty or away from the fire response area.
The vehicle was delivered to Midway on Feb. 5, received a successful inspection, and has been in operation since Feb.12.