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RHFD gets new vehicle, Firehouse Subs grant
The Richmond Hill Fire Department's 'Quick Response Vehicle.' - photo by Ted O'Neil

The Richmond Hill Fire Department put a new vehicle into service Monday and also recently received a grant of almost $21,000 from Firehouse Subs.

The new vehicle, dubbed a QRV for “quick response vehicle,” is a fully equipped Chevy Tahoe that will assist Bryan County EMS on medical emergencies. It will respond to non-fire calls instead of a fire truck, increasing response times and cutting down on fuel costs.

Fire Chief Ralph Catlett said a fire engine only gets about four to seven mpg, while the QRV can get as high as 15 mpg. That is expected to save the city as much as $20,000. The RHFD responded to 1,441 incidents in 2017, with 54 percent of them being medical emergencies.

“Our newest fire engine last year cost $400,000, so it stands to reason we should do everything possible to save on the day-to-day wear and tear,” Catlett said. “This should add about three to five years to the service life of our engines.”

The new vehicle is equipped with a rear-slide out for storage, including a backboard, and will be run out of Station No.2 on Timber Trail.

All firefighters in the RHFD are currently undergoing EMT training. Come June, the QRV will be staffed by two EMTs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The grant of $20,914 from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation will purchase a battery powered extrication tool. Also known as a “jaws of life,” the state-of-the-art battery unit offers several advantages.

Catlett explained that it allows for faster set-up than the older hydraulic units, makes for a safer working environment for firefighters without hydraulic hoses posing a tripping hazard, and provides more storage room on fire engines without the hydraulic hoses.

A Firehouse Subs franchise recently opened at the corner of Ford Avenue and Rushing Street. The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has given more than $33 million in grants to first responders in 46 states since 2005.

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