O'FALLON, Mo. — The O’Fallon Missouri Fire Protection District is appealing to voters to try and get more money to replace essential equipment and repair buildings.
It’s under Proposition F on the ballot next week.
O’Fallon fire is hoping to replace medical equipment, radios, several trucks and more if voters approve "Prop F."
“Prop F is a $16 million no-tax-increase bond issue and can solely be used for equipment purchases, building repairs and land purchases. It can't be used for any type of salaries or benefits or anything like that,” O’Fallon Fire Chief Tom Vineyard said.
A bond issue is similar to a home mortgage and the fire department has 20 years to pay it back.
Chief Vineyard said since the last $10 million bond issue in 2011, the population has grown by 18% and as a result, they’ve seen a 33% increase in calls.
“We started running advanced life support pumpers a few years ago. So that equipment is expensive. Heart monitors are anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000. We had five of them and they’re almost to the end of their life cycle,” Vineyard said.
Firefighter-Paramedic Alli Adams said they typically run a five-person crew in a truck that’s not really meant for it.
“In these current trucks we've got four seats and then we've got some makeshift seats. So ultimately, you're sitting knee to knee with another firefighter while you're trying to get your gear on if you're in a hurry. It just makes everything just a little more complicated,” Adams said.
They don’t have enough space for their gear and some trucks are hard to repair because parts are hard to find because they’re more than 20 years old.
“The average cost of a fire truck is right around $1,000,000. Believe it or not, it takes about three years to build a truck. Ever since COVID parts are harder and everything's slowed down,” Vineyard said.
Vineyard said keeping up with equipment replacement not only allows them to do their job it keeps the whole community safer.
“We feel the residents of this community deserve that,” Vineyard said.
For more information and to see the language that will be on the ballot click here.
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