(WWTI) – Senator Schumer has launched a push to modernize the Fort Drum Fire Department’s emergency response equipment.
In the past three years, five of the installation’s fire engines and its backup structural apparatus have failed to pass inspection and have not yet been repaired and replaced.
The installation is in need of a new ladder truck, which it can’t currently get under the Army’s policy. Schumer said the aged fire vehicles have put a serious strain on the Fort Drum Fire Department, which protects nearly 20,000 active duty military personnel and their families.
Schumer called on the Army to expedite the planned delivery of Fort Drum’s new engine truck, currently set for November 2020, to ensure that local first responders have all the tools and resources necessary to do their job safely and efficiently.
He argued that the Army should change the policy preventing Fort Drum from qualifying for a new ladder truck or to consider exempting Fort Drum from that policy.
“Our brave firefighters at Fort Drum are on the frontlines, risking their lives to defend the men and women who defend our nation home and abroad. To think these courageous firefighters are left to do their jobs with obsolete emergency vehicles that are over two decades old is not acceptable,” said Senator Schumer.
Schumer explained that the majority of the Fort Drum Fire Department’s emergency equipment and emergency response vehicles are more than twenty years old, with the oldest being built in 1987.
Currently through the Department of Defense and U.S. Army, the Fort Drum Fire Department is scheduled to receive a new engine truck in November of 2020. The absence of such a working engine truck has forced the Fort Drum Fire Department to rely on equipment from neighboring communities.
Schumer explained the Fort Drum Fire Department does not meet the requirements for a new ladder truck from the Army. In order for an installation’s fire department to be given a ladder truck, the base must have at least five buildings that are more than four stories tall and lack sprinkler systems, which Fort Drum does not have.
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