New firetruck, lieutenant ready to roll
By Jim Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org Sep 17, 2018
Courtesy photo/Keith SullivanKelby Groder is sworn in as the Salisbury Fire Department’s first lieutenant by Town Clerk Mindy Morrison. Bryan Eaton
SALISBURY — A new squad truck sits at the Lafayette Road fire station with a recently promoted lieutenant who is ready to take it out on calls by the end of the month.
Fire Chief Scott Carrigan requested $50,000 to fund the first-year payment on a five-year lease/purchase of a new truck for his department. Voters at the spring Town Meeting approved the measure and a converted Ford F-550 that arrived at the station in August.
“It’s about changing the mindset and our culture,” Carrigan said. “We are looking at things objectively to determine how our mission could be best accomplished. Most full-sized fire engines pump about 1,500 gallons per minute. This smaller truck can do the same. It has less compartment space and less carrying capacity as far as weight goes, but it has the same pumping capacity as a larger engine.”
The smaller Squad 2 costs roughly $225,000 and according to Carrigan, it fits his department better than buying another, larger-engine truck.
“It costs less and is more maneuverable and can serve a number of different roles for us,” Carrigan said. “The majority of emergencies we respond to are medical and we are taking the full-sized engine on most of those runs right now. That causes a lot of wear and tear on the truck and we’re not using the vast majority of the equipment on it.”
Carrigan said Squad 2 can respond as a second fire apparatus as well.
“There’s always the potential that they will be out on a medical call and have to respond to a fire call,” Carrigan said. “(This truck) could connect to a hydrant and supply water to a fire. It could also go supply mutual aid to other communities for about a half, if not a third, of the cost of a larger vehicle.”
Carrigan said a smaller truck would also be more maneuverable in the beach area during peak season. The department plans on training with the vehicle before it hits the streets sometime in the next two weeks.
The new squad truck is the latest step in Carrigan’s goal to restructure the Fire Department after adding five full-time firefighters last year. Longtime firefighter Kelby Groder was sworn in as the department’s newest lieutenant Sept. 10 and is the first officer in Salisbury history to do so after passing a three-step examination.
“Previously, we had a system in place that was heavily based on seniority,” Carrigan said. “The officers we have now are doing a fine job but we are in a position to bring in a couple of new officers. The firefighters union and I and (Town Manager Neil Harrington) all agreed it was within our mutual interest to develop more of a competitive examination process that would be open to everyone, instead of just benefiting the person with the most seniority.”
The new lieutenant’s exam included a written section as well as oral components and an interview with Carrigan.
“We now have one full-time captain, one full-time lieutenant and one part-time lieutenant,” Carrigan said. “What we need is four full-time officers. So we have two full-time openings, one of which was filled by Groder. So there will be another promotion coming.”
Groder has worked full time for the department for 12 years and previously served six years in a part-time capacity.
“I am very pleased,” Carrigan said. “The firefighters have been very helpful with and very responsible to the changes. In fact, they have initiated some of these changes.”