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Local tribe, volunteers purchase fire equipment

May 10, 2011

The Bishop Volunteer Fire Department and the local Rural Fire Protection District are purchasing an engine similar to Engine 4, pictured here. Photo by Mike Bodine

The fire department in Bishop is staffed fully by volunteers, except for the chief. Not only do these volunteers dedicate their spare time, and dedicate themselves to drop whatever they’re doing to respond to a call at anytime of the day or night, but now they’re putting their donations together to buy a new truck for the department and the community.
The department has also received an Indian Gaming grant totalling $26,900 that will go toward new pagers used to notify volunteers when their services are needed.
Bishop Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ray Seguine said the cost of the new $350,000 Wildland Interface vehicle will be split between the department and the Rural Fire Protection District.
The new truck will be “a mirror image” of current Engine 4, Seguine said. Engine 4, kept at station house 3 on the corner See Vee Lane and North Sierra Highway, is a Type 2 truck. He said these all-terrain vehicles can do just about anything; from being the first out in the snow to handling structure fires or remote wildfires.
Seguine said the chassis has been ordered and should be available by December. The truck will then be customized by Westport in Fresno. The truck will be built and tested according to specifics from the BVFD.
Seguine said departments used to build their own trucks, but with the ever increasing load of mandates and requirements for trucks, its too hard to keep up. For example, he said new trucks must be outfitted with tire air-pressure monitors on the dashboard.
Engine 3 should be ready by the next fire season, Seguine said.
Seguine said the life span of fire trucks is usually 10 years, but with proper maintenance, 20 years is not unrealistic. The department has a certified fire truck mechanic that performs regular maintenance on the truck and its tools.
Seguine added that the new pagers are also part of a new mandate. He said in 2013 these pager systems, nationwide, will be converted from broad to a narrow band transmission. He added that a new, more powerful repeater will be installed soon on top of Silver Peak.
The grant money comes from the Paiute Palace Casino. The grants are in accordance with tribal gaming compacts. Indian gaming tribes distribute a portion of their profits to the Special Distribution Fund which helps support tribes that do not have gaming and allows for grants to be made available to mitigate impacts in communities with tribal gaming.
“The tribe has been very generous to us,” Seguine said. “We’d like to thank them.”
The majority of the money for the truck from the volunteers comers from proceeds of the Destruction Derby at the annual Tri-County Fair.

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