Boyceville fire awarded $44,620 Bremer grant for Jaws of Life

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE —  The Boyceville fire department has been awarded a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation in the amount of $44,620 for purchasing new extrication equipment.

The new Jaws of Life was ordered last week, and the acknowledgement letter informing Boyceville that the fire department had received the grant has been signed and returned, said Brian Marlette, Boyceville fire chief, at the Boyceville Fire District’s August 14 meeting.

“The check is on the way,” he said.

Now that the Boyceville fire department will be receiving new extrication equipment, the next question is — what to do with the old equipment? Marlette wondered.

The department’s existing extrication equipment is 30 years old and has been assessed at a value of $5,000, he said.

Some neighboring fire departments do not have any extrication equipment, Marlette said.

“Should we offer it to them first? Put it out on bids? Put it up for sale?” he asked.

Gilbert Krueger, village president and chair of the fire district, suggested donating the equipment to a department that needs it.

If the fire district did not want to donate the equipment, it could be offered for a reduced price or advertised in the classified section of the municipal magazine, he said.

Ned Hahn, representing the Town of Hay River, said he liked the idea of donating the equipment or offering it at a reduced price.

Boyceville received the grant for new equipment, so donating or selling it for $2,500 would be one way to pass along the good fortune, he said.

Marlette said that if the equipment were sold, he would put the money toward the department’s building fund.

The existing extrication equipment has three tools; the new set will have four tools, he said.

“It’s the latest and greatest in technology,” Marlette said, noting that the new sets of extrication tools are electric and come with a charger and two batteries, have no hoses that need to be maintained and are also faster and stronger than the existing equipment.

Krueger wondered about training for the firefighters to use the new Jaws of Life.

The fire department has worked with Kadinger’s auto salvage in the past to use old vehicles for practice, and the salesperson is a retired fire chief who conducts extrication classes, Marlette said.

The salesperson is willing to do training at no extra charge to the Boyceville fire department, he said.

Marlette said he would contact neighboring fire departments to see if they were interested in Boyceville’s used extrication equipment.

“If they can use it, and it helps one person, the thing is paid for on both ends,” Krueger commented.

Matt Feeney, ambulance director, noted — for the purpose of being on the record — that half of the extrication equipment belongs to the ambulance service since the ambulance service and fire department started out as one agency.

Feeney also said, however, that he had no problem with donating the equipment to another department that did not have any extrication devices.

The Boyceville Fire District and the Boyceville Ambulance District were formed last year and are separate from each other and from the Village of Boyceville.

The Boyceville Fire District meets next on September 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Boyceville village hall.