|Second District increases rescue capability with new boat|
|By EMT Michael Wilson|
|November 20, 2017|
Your Second District Volunteers celebrated a major acquisition milestone when they held a press conference at the firehouse November 6.
The acquisition of a replacement Boat 6 began about two-years ago when member Mike Wilson approached department President Robert Grant and then Chief Mike Scrivener about acquiring a surplus or excess vessel from the Department of Defense.
Both gave him the go ahead and Wilson began investigating the process of acquiring a DoD vessel while he asked other members for input on specifications for a replacement boat.
Two boats were tentatively identified from the Naval Weapons Station Cheatham Annex in Virginia early in the process, however both vessels where picked up by a state law enforcement agency via the DoD Law Enforcement Support Program.
While this set back was unexpected and a major disappointment to the department, Wilson continued to examine other avenues of acquiring an excess or surplus vessel.
Per Monte Mitchell, of the Maryland Forest Service, “most FFP property is titled to the Fire Department and title will pass after the program requirements are met.” Moreover, he noted that boats are a specialized piece of equipment and he’s not seen any vessels available through the FFP program.
Delegate Rey worked with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to make that happen. Seeing the value of the program, DNR developed the Memorandum of Understanding with the federal government so Maryland fire departments could access surplus DoD firefighting equipment for their departments.
In April 2017, Mitchell contacted Wilson and advised him that a former U.S. Coast Guard 2003 25-foot SAFE boat with a triple axel trailer was available for the firehouse. However, Mitchell noted “this boat and trailer is Federal Excess Property Program (FEPP) equipment and as such remains federal property and would be on loan to the fire department by Cooperative Agreement as long as they have need, but it must be returned to the Agency when the fire department no longer needs the property.” Mitchell pointed out “there are several Maryland departments who have FEPP equipment dating to the 1990s, etc.…
Department President Grant and Chief Gary Joy agreed the department should accept the vessel and finally begin the process of replacing our 1987 18-foot boat.
The boat was accepted in May, and members Mike Scrivener, Joe Scrivener, Jason Bean, Adam Bodner and James Barnes, senior took charge of outfitting the new vessel with two new Honda 225 horse-power engines, new electronics and painting.
Attending the press conference were Delegate Rey, Monte Mitchell, St. Mary’s County Commissioner President James Guy and District 1 Commissioner Tom Jarboe.
Delegate Rey stated “I’m very excited this day is finally here. This vessel culminates 2-years of effort by Mr. Wilson to expand the capabilities of the department and save the taxpayers money at the same time.”
Chief Joy noted “the entire department is excited about this new capability. All our volunteers will want to be on the boat. This vessel increases our ability to rescue boaters in 6-foot seas where our current vessel is only rated up to 4-foot seas.”
Commissioner Jarboe added, “we did not have this style of boat when I was active Coast Guard. We had rigid hull inflatables and they could only be safely used in moderate sea state. New Boat 6 is the newer style and can operate in a significantly worse sea state (Probably 6-foot waves or more). Excellent boat handling and maneuverability.”
Closing out the press conference, Delegate Rey presented Mike Wilson with a Maryland General Assembly Citation thanking him for his efforts, stating that “St. Mary’s County, SDVFDRS and the citizens of the 2nd District saved $400,000 on this acquisition.”
For more information about both the Firefighter Property Program and the Federal Excess Property Program, contact Mr. Monte Mitchell.
Monte R. Mitchell