Lending a hand

Supervisors approve $5,000 to State Center Fire, $10,000 to Marshalltown Fire for extrication equipment

When a car accident victim is trapped, every second counts, and the State Center Fire Department (SCFD) is looking to purchase extrication equipment to serve much of western Marshall County.

Another step was taken toward getting that equipment with a Marshall County Board of Supervisors decision Wednesday. The board voted to put $5,000 toward the SCFD purchase of extrication equipment, sometimes called Jaws of Life, while approving $10,000 for a similar planned purchase by the Marshalltown Fire Department.

“We had a goal set last spring to try and fundraise $30,000 for the purchase of extrication equipment, which we’ve never had,” said State Center Assistant Fire Chief Brad Pfantz. “We’ve had the occasion to use that equipment over a number of years and had to rely on Marshalltown Fire Department (MFD), which has an automatic aid relationship with all of the fire departments in the county.”

While help from Marshalltown and the nearby town of Colo have been reliable, Pfantz said much of western Marshall County is “exposed” if extrication equipment can’t arrive when needed from outside the area.

“Clemons, State Center, Rhodes and Melbourne; none of us have any [extrication equipment] right now,” he said.

Both the Marshalltown and State Center departments are looking to purchase battery-powered extrication equipment for around $30,000. For Marshalltown, the purchase would be an upgrade from its current hydraulic equipment; for State Center, it would mean being able to immediately respond with extrication equipment in their territory.

The county was set to cover about half of the Marshalltown equipment purchase at $15,000; the MFD responds to motor vehicle accident calls throughout the county. However, that amount was split between the Marshalltown and State Center at Wednesday’s meeting to help both toward purchasing the equipment.

Pfantz said the battery-powered extrication equipment is more mobile than a hydraulic system, which relies on hoses and has a limited range.

“If we have a vehicle that’s down in a ravine, in a ditch, you can basically go anywhere with that,” he said of battery-powered equipment, adding it could be operated by one person rather than two. “It’s much more portable and, I would say, user-friendly from a mechanics standpoint.”

Board Chairman Bill Patten said he had discussed splitting the funding between Marshalltown and State Center for the purchases with Marshalltown Fire Chief David Rierson, who he said agreed with such a move.

The $5,000 to State Center and $10,000 to Marshalltown for the equipment were made payable upon purchase.

Also approved Wednesday were appointments to various county boards and commissions to begin Jan. 1, 2018.

Steve Armstrong was appointed to fulfill the unfinished term of Julie Stahl on the Marshall County Conservation Board. Rick Landt was appointed to a five-year term on the Board of Adjustment, while Tommy Lamb was appointed to the Marshall County Commission of Veteran’s Affairs.

In other business

The board adopted a resolution of acceptance of the Marshall County Courthouse elevator project contracted to Hay Construction Company Inc.

Also approved was the part-time hire of Eric Devig for the county Secondary Roads

Department. County Engineer Paul Geilenfeldt said he could use more part-time help this winter.

“We need a couple more, we would definitely take some applications for part-time help if anyone thinks they want to operate a plow,” he said.

The board also voted to deny a request for installation field entrances along Marsh Avenue by Ed Miller.

The next Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting is set for 9 a.m. Jan. 2, 2018 in meeting room No. 2 on the third floor of the Marshall County Courthouse, 1 E. Main St.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com