2021-09-08

Volunteer firefighters in Lunenburg getting new rescue unit

by KEITH CORCORAN

A new fire rescue unit will be in service in Lunenburg next fall after the town agreed to buy the $618,315 public safety equipment.

Dartmouth-based Safety Source Fire (formerly Micmac Fire and Safety) was awarded the procurement in recent weeks by town council. Once it arrives in late September or early October of 2022, the new unit will replace a 2002 Freightliner-manufactured truck, which is due to be switched out.

"The safety of our firefighters and the citizens we serve is a priority to our organization, and with this in mind we are committed to achieving a high standard with regards to our firefighting vehicles," reads the procurement document. "The purchasing and maintenance of our firefighting vehicles is part of an ongoing process to replace and maintain our firefighting equipment to the latest NFPA [National Fire Protection Association] and ULC [Underwriters Laboratories of Canada] standards to the best of our ability."

Earlier this year, council approved ordering of the truck for delivery in fiscal year 2022-23. Town policy dictated civic politicians had to award the procurement because the value was expected to be above the $100,000 threshold.

Safety Source Fire did not provide the lowest price of the four bids received for the job. However, the company identified the fewest procurement specifications it could not meet or from which it would need to deviate. The company with the lowest price bid had the highest number of specification deviations.

A report to council from the town's purchasing coordinator, Katie MacMillan, and fire chief Darren Romkey indicated that the fire department committee grading the submissions chose not to use the weighing and evaluation criteria in the request-for-proposals (RFP). The fire department, which boasts about 50 members and responds to nearly 200 alarms per year, had a good track record dealing with Safety Source Fire, the report reads, as it supplied them Engine 2 last year. The tender for Engine 2 was awarded in 2019 at a cost of $841,379, with that truck replacing a 1998 Freightliner pumper and a 2000 GMC tanker.

The fire department "has had unfavourable experiences working with other providers in the past, but they are very happy with Engine 2 and have had excellent service provided by Micmac Fire and Safety Source," reads the report to council. "Because of the confidentiality clause in the RFP document, the proposals cannot be provided to the public or discussed in open session."

The surplus rescue unit will be sold through the tendering process once the replacement unit arrives. Proceeds from the sale will be put towards the borrowing incurred for the purchase of the new vehicle, and the balance will be financed from reserve transfer and long-term borrowing.

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