South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services added a bit of tradition on June 21, when they received a new Fire pumper-tanker truck and with a little help from their friends, they pushed it into the firehouse bay for the first time. Tinkess Photo

MORRISBURG – At the regularly scheduled meeting of South Dundas Council on Dec. 11, 2023, Council received a report from then acting Fire Chief Jeremy Alldred-Hughes requesting Council purchase a new Fire Pumper Tanker. A request for proposals (RFP) was released in October for the provisional purchase and two submissions were received. Council approved the purchase of a pumper tanker from Battleshield Industries in Vars, Ontario in the amount of $730,336 plus HST and delivery.

On Fri., June 21, the community took delivery of the vehicle and celebrated with a barbecue and a traditional “push-in” ceremony.

Mayor Jason Broad was one of many South Dundas council and administration members who were on hand for the event. It was a big day, not only in the expenditure, but in community pride as well as a long-term investment for the community.

“Well, we are spending a lot of money,” said Mayor Broad. “Obviously, it took many years to put money into the reserves to get a firetruck. I know the department is excited to have it. We’re excited to have the new equipment and provide the service to the community.”

Being tasked with looking out for the interests of all the residents of South Dundas can, at times be a daunting task. Everyone has a wish list, things they would like to see added to the community fabric, but there is only ever just so much money that can be spent or debt that can be managed. There are places where you can look to save money, but when it comes to the safety of citizens as well as those who are members of the fire department, that is an area where you must look at costs from more than one perspective.

“We’ve got to follow that FBA guidelines so what they tell us when we need to replace trucks, then we need to replace trucks or we can recertify trucks, or whatever it is,” added Mayor Broad. “Certainly, it is not an area where we’re willing to take a risk. We need our trucks to be available when they’re needed, because it’s at the spur of a moment when they’re needed.

“Super credit to the Chief and, and all his station chiefs and captains for looking at the equipment and looking at the models and making it a great decision for the community.”

Fire Chief Jeremy Alldred-Hughes has been with the South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services only since June 26, 2023, but in that time, he has made an impact. He has recommended equipment upgrades where necessary but has also stressed the need for a recommitment to updated mission values, which now find themselves emblazoned on the side of the new truck. Pride, teamwork and dedication are more than just words.

“I don’t know, if you’re aware, a couple of months ago, we updated our mission vision values,” said Chief Alldred-Hughes. “So, our values are pride, teamwork, and dedication. In the declaration of this truck, we wanted to reflect that. Moving forward, we’re really pushing to bring South Dundas together as a single department with three stations. So that’s part of our graphics on our trucks moving forward.”

There were two companies that responded to the RFP for the new truck, but particularly nice was that the winning bid came from Battleshield Industries, in Vars, Ontario (North of Embrun.) “Battleshield has been phenomenal with us,” said Chief Alldred-Hughes. “They’re nice and close, as far as repairs maintenance, if we have any questions need any assistance that way. And it’s always nice to support local.”

It’s also nice to add a bit of tradition to the mix, which is what the pushing in ceremony is.

“It is a tradition that a lot of departments still follow,” explained Chief Alldred-Hughes. “So, back in the day, when firefighters still used horsedrawn engines, when they would return from a call, they would disconnect the team of horses, and you’d have to push your engine into the bay. It kind of became tradition after they moved away from horsedrawn. Anytime the department got a new piece of apparatus, it was kind of christened by a pushing ceremony.”

As the public had an opportunity to examine the new truck up close, one thing was apparent: It had the attention of almost everyone there. It is a big expenditure, no question, but if you are the one relying on the Fire Department to save everything that matters to you, you won’t be asking how much it cost.