The Eastport Volunteer Fire Company placed an additional medic in service at the Eastport fire station on Bay Ridge Avenue today. The 2003 International Navistar was acquired from a nearby county after it was declared surplus last October. Using community donations and State grant funds, the unit was evaluated mechanically from bumper-to-bumper, had its body repaired and repainted, and new, state-of-the-art emergency lighting installed.
The fire company first heard that the unit might become surplus back in February 2012. According to the fire company’s president, Al Kirchner, “We went to look it over right away and were very impressed. The body was in pretty good shape and it appeared to be in excellent mechanical condition.”
After that, the Eastport volunteers simply watched and waited until one day in October, they got the call that the unit was now surplus. Kirchner said the company’s plans and finances were poised to act but that he had to scramble to be the first in line to acquire the unit.
Before being put in service, the unit was taken to Patriot Fire Equipment in Grasonville, Maryland where some body damage and a fair amount of galvanic corrosion had to be repaired before it could be repainted in Eastport Fire Company’s traditional red and white color scheme.
With the major work behind them, the volunteers were getting ready to have a contractor install the updated LED emergency lighting, but encountered some unexpected delays. At that point, Annapolis Fire Chief David Stokes offered the assistance of the fire department’s repair shop since it was “in the interest of the city to help get this unit in service as soon as possible, given the needs of the city’s ambulance fleet.”
The unit, designated as Ambulance 362, will back up Paramedic Unit PM-36, a city owned unit in the Eastport station. Depending on conditions, city firefighters assigned to the ladder truck in the station could staff Ambulance 362 for a response in Eastport if PM-36 was on another call. In addition, Chief Stokes said, “This unit also gives us some much needed added depth in our medic unit fleet. Our medic units are very busy and are run hard. The vehicles themselves are quite complex and the electronic medical gear installed in them is also very sophisticated. As a result, they require more maintenance and experience comparatively more ‘down’ time than our fire apparatus.”
The Eastport Volunteer Fire Company recently received a City Council Citation recognizing their “Can Do attitude…” and “…efforts that have made the Eastport community and the City of Annapolis a safer place.” In accepting the citation last December, President Kirchner said, “This award really belongs to Eastport’s citizens, businesses and community organizations. Their generous financial support year after year has made these equipment purchases possible.” Kirchner also thanked Mayor Cohen, Alderman Arnett and Chief Stokes for their unwavering support and productive working relationship with the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company.
Over the past five years, the Eastport Volunteer Fire Company has placed over $650 thousand worth of equipment in service at the Eastport fire station. In 2007, they purchased a new pumper, in 2010 they purchased a 100-foot tractor drawn ladder truck and earlier this year, they took delivery of a 2012 4-wheel drive Chevrolet utility unit.
The Eastport Volunteer Fire Company has served Eastport and the greater Annapolis community since 1886. They meet monthly on the fourth Monday at 8 o’clock p.m. at the fire hall at 914 Bay Ridge Avenue in Eastport. The company welcomes anyone wishing to become a member or simply help out with the company’s programs in fire and emergency medical services.
For further information, please contact: Albert G. “Al” Kirchner, President, Eastport Volunteer Fire Company, 914 Bay Ridge Avenue, Post Office Box 3332, Annapolis, Maryland 21403-0332; telephone (410) 263-9494.