Firefighters get new equipment with $174K grant

GOLDEN VALLEY - Golden Valley Fire Department personnel will be safer handling fire and hazardous materials emergencies since obtaining new air packs and other related equipment.

Division Chief Rudy Barboa said Dan Dean "did a great job picking out the style" of equipment purchased with money from a $174,319 grant.

"We got the same kind we had before. It was good equipment. It just needed to be replaced," Barboa told the GVFD Board of Directors on March 14. "It was a matching grant that just cost the district $9,175."

The district also has received a $2,080 grant through Western Arizona Council of Medical Services for six UHF radios, and a $20,000 Highway Safety grant for extrication equipment.

Barboa presented the chief's report in the absence of Chief Harold Nystedt, who was gone for medical reasons.

Barboa said the department will host firefighter reserve testing and engineer testing, both in April, that paramedic classes through Mohave Community College start today and a hazmat specialty class is coming up in October.

The department can send as many as four firefighter/EMTs at a time at no charge to the hazmat class.

"It's for five weeks, eight hours a day," he said. "It's a very intense training."

The department responded three weeks ago to a hazmat incident that occurred on Topeats Drive.

"We have three hazmat techs on staff now and they did a great job," Barboa said. "The hazmat training we participated in at Griffith (Power Plant) was very beneficial."

The board learned the district will have approximately $500,000 in carry-over funds for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

The board transferred $10,000 from the retirement fund, which has an $80,000 excess, to cover electrical expenses projected through the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends June 30, along with $5,000 for medical exams and $5,000 for training and tuition, all from the same retirement account.

"The department has had more volunteers coming on board, which requires more physical exams at $500 each, and more training," Barboa said.

He said the district also is looking to hire three full-time firefighters this fiscal year to cover the new Station 3 in the Walnut Creek Estates area.

"Station 3 should open in late summer or early fall," Barboa said. "We want to hire the three new full-timers to make sure they're adequately trained in time."

Board member Steve Galner said the department also needs to be considering additional coverage for the fast-growing north end of the valley and So-Hi Estates.

The Golden Valley Fire District goes up to Hermit Drive. Dolan Springs' Mohave Ranchos Fire Department covers areas beyond Hermit.

The board also:

• Learned the budget committee will meet at 3 p.m. on Thursday at Station 1 on Mayer Road.

• Heard from County Attorney James Schoppmann that the district has received a response from the State's Attorney's Office to public complaints of violations of the Open Meetings Act. The response offered remedies and recommendations to help the board avoid future violations. Those recommendations include an annual refresher course on the Open Meetings Act and training for all new board members as they join the board.

• Learned from Schoppmann that the district will not need to hire an architect to draw up plans for two new handicap-accessible restrooms at the classroom building at Station 2 on Egar Road.

• Unanimously agreed to let bids for construction of the restrooms, a handicap ramp and two paved parking spaces, and a cement pad with a below-ground work pit and an overhead cover for the maintenance area, all at Station 2. All sealed bids for all or any portion of the projects must reach the Station 1 administrative offices by 5 p.m. on April 16. For more specific details, bidders can contact the administrative office at 565-3479.

• Agreed to purchase a $100 firemen's ring in lieu of a plaque for the chief's 20th anniversary with the company. The board earlier had placed a $50 limit on such gifts. Schoppmann said anyone wishing to donate toward the ring can do so at the administrative offices.

• In a vote of 3-2, approved continued use of a department pickup truck by the division chief. Barboa recently moved out of the district and into Kingman and has been driving a department vehicle to shorten his response time. Barboa responds to what he called "the worst of the worst" calls that occur at night. According to some brief calculations by board Clerk March Frederick, Barboa responds to such calls on the average rate of six a month.

"It really doesn't matter much to me if I take the truck home with me or not, but it allows me to respond faster to the scene than if I have to drive to Station 1, leave my vehicle and get a department vehicle," Barboa said. "And I actually live closer now than I would if I lived out on Griffith Road inside the district."

Those voting to allow Barboa to continue to take a department vehicle home with him at night were Galner, Vic Colvin and Chairman Brad Armey. Those voting against it were Frederick and Neal Bellew.

The board's next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 18 at Station 1 on Mayer Road.