A light colored fire truck will soon be seen around town, as the City Council approved an agreement with the State of California for the temporary transfer of an Office of Emergency Services fire engine to the City of Turlock Fire Department.
The Office of Emergency Services strategically places firefighting equipment throughout the state to respond to both regional and statewide emergencies. The Turlock Fire Department will staff the OES engine and deploy it as requested to regional or state emergencies.
"It's an exciting opportunity for the City of Turlock," said Turlock Police Chief Robert Jackson at Tuesday's City Council meeting. Jackson, along with City Manager Roy Wasden, has been serving as interim fire chief while the City is in the process of recruiting candidates to replace former Fire Chief Tim Lohman.
The Type I Engine, which requires four personnel, is the apparatus that is called first for mutual aid assistance in structure fires. When not in use in emergencies around the state, the engine will be available for use in the City of Turlock, thus reducing the burden on the City's aging reserve fire engines that are 16 and 22 years old.
"The real benefit for the City is it gives us another engine to backfill our needs as well...through my experience over the past few months with the departure of our fire chief, we experienced a few times with mechanical issues with our current supply of apparatus, we actually had one of our stations have to go dry, which means we didn't have a pumper truck assigned to one of our four stations. We things in place to mitigate that, but it's not ideal," said Jackson. "So this would be another apparatus to have in place, where we can bring it online as a first response vehicle under those circumstances."
Jackson said that the fire department will be able to appropriately staff and deploy the State-owned engine without negatively affecting daily Turlock Fire staffing.
All personnel and maintenance costs associated with the Type I engine will be covered by the State.