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Kellyton volunteer firefighter and paramedic Dewayne Rathel with the department’s new rescue truck, purchased primarily through grant funds. Photo by Christa Jennings
The new rescue truck is loaded with equipment purchased through another grant, including a full set of battery-powered rescue tools, compressed air foam system and more. Photo by Christa Jennings
Among the various pieces of equipment packed into the rescue truck are rope rescue equipment for both high angle and low angle rescues and an assortment of tools. Photo by Christa Jennings
Equipment on the rescue truck includes a brake pedal cutter, lifting bags and battery-powered DeWalt tools such as an impact wrench, reciprocating saw and more. Photo by Christa Jennings
Kellyton Fire Chief Jerry Sewell, left, and John Blue II, president of the Alabama Council of Emergency Medical Services, are pictured with Kellyton’s new rescue truck purchased thanks to assistance from grant funds. Photo submitted
Kellyton Fire and Rescue is excited to have this new rescue truck in service thanks to funding from a grant. Pictured from left are Rep. Ed Oliver, Kellyton Fire Chief Jerry Sewell, Gov. Kay Ivey, Sen. Clyde Chambliss, and Rep. Ben Robbins. Photo submitted
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
Kellyton Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue now has a new vehicle to help assist Coosa County residents and others during times of need.
The department is the proud recipient of a competitive grant awarded by the Alabama Council of Emergency Medical Services Inc., or ACEMS.
ACEMS President John Blue II was pleased to report that Gov. Kay Ivey, Sen. Clyde Chambliss, Rep. Ed Oliver, Rep. Ben Robbins, and others have made possible the funds to purchase this essential equipment to better serve the citizens of Coosa County.
The ACEMS authorized $120,000 to be used, along with Kellyton’s match of $40,000, to purchase a rescue truck. Fire Chief Jerry Sewell and members of the Kellyton department expressed that they are greatly appreciative of Ivey, Chambliss, Oliver, Robbins, and ACEMS for making this equipment a reality for the county’s citizens.
Sewell said that the capabilities and functions of this equipment will certainly make response to accidents and emergent events most responsive to the needs of Coosa County citizens.
“It is heartfelt to receive recognition for our hard work and commitment to provide emergency response and medical care to people in need. We are committed to our community, and to receive this grant means a lot to our department,” said Sewell.
Sewell explained that the new rescue truck has already been put into service and has been used on numerous calls, adding that it has already paid for itself in the amount it has been used and proved a valuable asset.
In addition to working numerous wrecks with it, he said the day it was put into service a log truck had turned over and trapped the driver inside the cab. With the battery-powered tools on the new rescue truck they were able to push the log truck away from the tree, cut the cab back and extricate the driver.
While the ACEMS grant covered the majority of the purchase of the rescue truck, the match paid came from Kellyton’s EMS fund, which comes from ambulance runs.
The rescue truck is now loaded with equipment that was purchased through a separate grant, with some equipment also purchased entirely by the department without grant funds. Some might be surprised just how much is packed into the truck, especially those unfamiliar with emergency medical services and respondents.
Almost all of the equipment on the rescue truck is newer battery-powered equipment, and the truck also has a charger for recharging the batteries for those pieces of equipment.
The equipment loaded into the rescue truck includes a full set of Holmatro battery-powered rescue tools, such as Jaws of Life; cribbing and stabilization struts for stabilizing vehicles; battery-powered DeWalt tools including a reciprocating saw, cutoff grinder, rescue saw, impact wrench, chainsaw, and blower; a Stihl battery-powered chainsaw; battery-powered ventilation fan; Holmatro lifting bags that can lift up to 45 pounds; Holmatro brake pedal cutter; Ajax air-powered cutting tools; high angle and low angle rope rescue equipment; confined space rescue equipment; water rescue equipment; assorted basic hand tools; a compressed air foam system for putting out small fires; and more.
Kellyton’s matching part of the grant used to purchase the equipment was $35,790. With the exception of one gas-powered saw, Chief Sewell said that the equipment on the truck is about 99% electric, or battery powered.
Sewell explained plans for the future of the rescue truck, as well. He is currently in the process of trying to get a grant to get a heart monitor on the truck.
He explained the monitor will cost approximately $50,000, and the grant would be another 75% grant with a match of 25%. That means Kellyton would pay approximately $12,500 for its matching portion for the heart monitor.
Sewell said the plan is to apply for a license to run the rescue truck as an ALS, or advanced life support, non-transport vehicle. He said the truck will be equipped with the heart monitor and all necessary medical equipment to run on ALS calls.
This would serve to benefit the department and the county as a whole for times when only one paramedic is at the Kellyton station.
Two personnel are required to be in an ambulance in order to run it. However, once the rescue truck is established as an ALS non-transport vehicle, one medic can use it to go and begin treating a patient until an ambulance can arrive on scene.
Kellyton VFD currently has approximately 15 volunteers, including firefighters and medics trained in diving, water rescue, confined space rescue, and high angle rescue. Between the department’s two fire stations it has a total of 10 vehicles, including two ambulances, five trucks and a boat for the department’s dive team.
The vehicles purchased over the years are paid for from the department’s EMS fund from ambulance runs, with the department’s fire fee fund only being used to build the second fire station. Sewell mentioned that everything the department purchases helps benefit the entire county as they respond to calls anywhere needed in Coosa County, making the equipment and vehicles good investments for the county as a whole.
With the department’s two stations and where they are situated, every Kellyton resident, with the exception of three homes, is now within 5 miles of either station.
In addition to utilizing the new rescue truck as an ALS non-transport vehicle, other future plans for Kellyton VFD include possibly building a third station to cover all residents within the Kellyton dire district and the potential purchase a second tanker truck to help reduce insurance premiums.