Fire board approves IT upgrade


The Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Board on Tuesday approved the purchase of equipment for IT infrastructure upgrades across the district, a proposal first put before it earlier this year.

That proposal was initially turned down, but after the board approved thousands of dollars in other technology equipment and software upgrades whose performance depended on the current network being upgraded.

Branden Jackman, public information officer for the district, previously submitted a purchase order for the IT infrastructure upgrades with a cost of $6,260. The work was to be done through his technology company, Fortress Technologies.

Board members agreed to revisit the proposal, but to obtain a competitive quote for the same work and equipment. One was obtained and was for about $1,000 less than Jackman’s proposal, but the potential downside to that, as previously reported, was having an unknown company do the work versus Jackman, who has built and maintained the district’s network almost from the beginning.

In the end, the board agreed that Jackman’s knowledge of the system would likely be more beneficial and cost-saving and outweigh the initial extra expense.

When the proposal was initially submitted, Jackman told board members about the current system’s inability to handle the district’s network requirements, let alone the addition of new equipment and software. Chief Bradley George said at the board’s last meeting that he had seen firsthand since his return to the position of chief a month ago the network’s inability to handle the software and equipment improvements previously approved by the board.

Jackman said Tuesday that he would submit the order and would expect the equipment to arrive early next week, at which point he would begin installation. He estimated that the improved IT network would be up and running by the end of next week.

In other business, in George’s report for February he said that the air packs previously purchased have all arrived, and training on the equipment will begin later this week, with the expectation of all the gear being in service within two weeks.

The purchase of the air packs was approved in December after months of discussion on the matter, with input from district employees on the outdated and aged packs currently in use across the district.

Air packs are standard firefighting equipment and protect a firefighter from the deadly atmosphere within a burning structure. An individual air pack includes the harness by which an air cylinder is held, an air cylinder, face mask, regulator, and various safety features that improve safety in a fire.

As previously reported, the district will pay about $280,000 through a five-year financing plan for 42 air packs.

Also included in the chief’s report was that there were 30 fire runs in the month of February and 317 EMS runs.

The board went into an executive session shortly before 8 p.m. for the stated purpose of discussing personnel matters to consider the appointment, employment, and compensation of a public employee. When the board emerged from the closed session, no action was taken.

The Paint Creek board holds its regular meetings every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Greenfield station on Washington Street. The meetings are open to the public.

Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.

Fire board member Steve Edingfield, left, leans back in his chair and lookds toward Branden Jackman, who is addressing the board on IT matters at Tuesday’s board meeting. board member Steve Edingfield, left, leans back in his chair and lookds toward Branden Jackman, who is addressing the board on IT matters at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Air packs delivered, expected to be in service soon

By Angela Shepherd

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