FALLS CITY — A $10,000 grant from Weyerhauser’s Giving Fund will help outfit Falls City Fire Department’s new brush truck that was recently put into service.
Falls City fire received the truck, a Chevy 350, in the fall, said Sharon Greve, the department’s assistant chief. When it arrived, the truck wasn’t ready for service — it didn’t have emergency lights or a siren.
Greve said a few months ago she received a letter from Weyerhauser saying the department would receive a grant, but the amount was to be determined.
“They were going to award it, but they weren’t sure how much yet. We felt relatively safe getting a few things, like the light and siren bar. We borrowed it from our main budget, which took everything out (of the budget),” Greve said. “We sort of prepaid for it, but not all the other stuff.”
The “other stuff” will give the department capabilities it hasn’t had in the past.
Greve said the truck will have a stair chair. With that, a patient can be carried downstairs or out of places a cot can’t fit, like travel trailers or recreational vehicles.
“We’ve never had one. If we have a patient in that position, we just have to wait until a transporting medic comes because they have one. We use theirs,” Greve said. “Now we can have a patient downstairs and ready to put them in the back of the ambulance.”
The new truck will have its own AED, wild land firefighting gear, hand tools for wild land fires and storm response, and equipment for mass causality incidents. The Chevy is smaller and lighter than most fire trucks and able to get into mountains and maneuver easier. It can carry up to six personnel.
“Our response time in the remote areas will be better,” Greve said.
She said it will also be outfitted with a CB radio for better communication with loggers and others working in the forests.
“When we go up to Black Rock and Valsetz, there is very limited radio service. Usually it’s nothing, and cellphones don’t work either,” Greve said. “A lot of our loggers are up there, and they all have CBs. If they have an emergency, we’ll be able to talk to them on the CB. We’ll be able to talk to the log trucks and the dump trucks coming and going, and let them know where we are, and they can help us find places. That’s going to be awesome, a huge plus.”
Greve said the Giving Fund offers grants to communities where Weyerhauser has operations nearby. She said the funding is needed, as the department has been borrowing medical equipment and firefighting gear from other trucks to go on calls.
“It would have taken us a couple of years to get all the extra stuff,” Greve said. “We could have scrounged to get used basic (equipment), and continued borrowing from one vehicle to another back and forth. This way it can have all of its own stuff and more things than we’ve had before.”