Royersford Fire Department invests in multi-purpose truck

Royersford Fire Department's new multi-purpose truck. Photo by Gil Cohen

When it comes to saving borough taxpayers money, Royersford Fire Department is thinking outside the box.

This year, the department placed in service a 2011 KME multi-capable rescue truck purchased in January.

“We kept the residents in mind when we bought it,” said Gary Wezel, Royersford FD chief. “It was purchased for $560,000. Had we bought a single-purpose rescue for $450,000 plus a pumper for $350,000, a total of close to a million dollars would have been spent. By acquiring a vehicle capable of performing both rescue and firefighting functions, we saved the borough $240,000.”

The new vehicle can perform the traditional firefighting functions of a pumper, Wezel pointed out, but in addition the truck is capable of vehicle rescues, high angle and confined space rescues, and scene lighting.

No sooner was the rescue truck placed in service than it proved its worth, the fire chief noted.

“A 9-1-1 call came in alerting us to an accident with injuries on Route 422. While we were responding, we were notified by county radio that the driver was trapped and unconscious, and the vehicle was smoking,” he said. “Everything needed for this type of emergency was right on the rescue and we were able to roll it out immediately.”

Another advantage of a multi-function vehicle is the saving in time when responding to an emergency. After the 9-1-1 call was placed for the vehicle rescue, it took only six minutes for the new rescue truck to arrive on the scene, Wezel said.

“Previously, when we faced this kind of emergency, we were behind the eight-ball from the start,” he said. “First, we had to send out our pumper and then we had to wait another five minutes until the rescue truck arrived on the scene.”

These days, said Wezel, multi-capable fire trucks are the way to go in the fire service.

“Back in the day, there was a plentiful amount of volunteers to staff both a rescue and a pumper. Because of the steady decline in volunteers, however, that’s no longer the case. Multi-capable trucks fill the void by performing many functions with less manpower.”