Borough assembly approves funds for CES

First responders at Central Emergency Services are a step closer to replacing some of their outdated vehicles.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approved an ordinance at its Feb. 23 meeting to appropriate nearly $2.8 million in general obligation bonds for CES to purchase new firefighting and rescue vehicles. The allocation is the first of two phases CES will receive the money in.

Voters approved the issuing of $4.4 million in bonds total during the last general election, and CES will use the funds to go about replacing their engines, ambulances and other staff vehicles that were already nearing the end of their life spans, said CES Chief Roy Browning.

With the first bond allocation, CES will replace its ladder truck — which with a 75-foot ladder is too short to reach the tops of several buildings in the service area — two fire engines, two ambulances and a few utility vehicles, Browning said.

“It’ll take nine months to a year to receive the engines,” he said, adding that it will take about nine months to get the ambulances and more than a year before the new ladder truck arrives.

As the emergency vehicles are upgraded, their replacements will come with a combination of capabilities, so that they will be multi-use and won’t have to be replaced as often in the future, Browning said.

“The ladder truck will come with water tanks and a fire pump and hoses so that it can be used also as a backup,” he said.

Bringing in replacements that can be used in both firefighting and rescue circumstances will also help reduce the size of CES’s total fleet and make the department more efficient when it comes to putting its employees through training exercises, Browning said.

When the rest of the funds are issued in a second phase, CES will address an engine tanker, two more staff vehicles and one or two more ambulances, Browning said. All vehicles being upgraded were already on a schedule that dictates when they should be replaced, he said.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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