Evart Area Fire millage used for new truck, protective gear

EVART — In 2020, the Evart Area Fire Department communities approved a fire millage to fund fire department operations. Since then, those funds have been put to good use.

A 2022 pumper tanker that carries 3000 gallons of water and has 1500 gallon per minute pumping capacity and Class A foam on board was purchased. Cost of the new truck was $346,000.

It replaces a 1987 pumper tanker that carried 2500 gallons of water and had a pumping capacity of 1250 gallons per minute, with no foam.

In January, Engine 9 was placed into service and ready to protect the community, a post on the fire department Facebook page said.

Additionally, the fire department has replaced all of their personal protective gear.

“In 2012, we received a grant to replace our personal protective gear and now 10 years later it is required to be replaced once again,” Fire Chief Shane Helmer said on Facebook. “We were able to purchase brand new equipment for every member of the fire department.”

In May, all the new equipment was delivered, inventoried and issued out to the firefighters. Each firefighter received the following:

  • Radio strap to hold portable radios
  • Helmet
  • Nomex Hood
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Bunker pants
  • Bunker coats
  • Traffic vests

The cost per firefighter for the gear was $3,450.

The department purchased extrication tools in 1999 and were recently informed that the service life on the units was coming to an end and parts and service would no longer be available after 2022.

“We were able to submit for a USDA grant to help with the cost of replacing the personal protective gear and the new extrication tools,” Hemler said. “The cost of these projects was $152,000. We asked for $50,000 in grant funding and were awarded $100,000, enabling us to save $50,000 of departmental money to be put toward future projects.”

The new extrication tools are now in service. Instead of having hoses like the previous ones, they are battery operated with a hydraulic system, which makes them more maneuverable.

“Because we were able to save money from these projects, the department was able to replace a flatbed body from our brush unit and replace a utility box on the truck, and save the cost of a new truck,” Helmer said. “Again, we want to thank the community for their continued support to help keep our firefighters safe and provide them the equipment necessary to serve our residents.” 

The fire department requested a millage of 2 mills for six years be placed on the November 2020 ballot for each of the five governmental entities within the fire service agreement. The proposal requested 1.2 mills to fund fire department operations and .8 mill to fund capital expenditures.

Hemler said at the time, the funding was necessary to sustain the fire departments ongoing operations.