The difference between Friday’s demo boat and what the fire department will obtain is size and capability. Brown estimated the boat Clinton will receive is bigger by about 4 feet on each side and offers a warm cab for chilled rescuees.
“You can see the advantages of this type of equipment,” Brown said.
He added the department has endured some criticism for approaching the city with the purchase. Clinton fire has approximately five river emergencies per year, Brown estimated -- a statistic that doesn’t portray a pressing situation.
“No we haven’t had any big fires on the river this year,” he said. “But our line of work is kind of like the old Boy Scout motto -- be prepared. It doesn’t mean we don’t prepare, train or have equipment in place.”
He pointed to the fact that the Coast Guard has pushed for grants allowing the equipment to exist in town. This is technology that fulfills a need for multiple agencies, Brown said. And there’s a good chance none of the $600,000 estimated price tag will cost taxpayers.
The city currently is in the process of developing specs in order to go for bid on the project. That proposal will then go before the City Council for approval, with a public hearing on the bids coming this summer.
If everything moves forward rapidly, Brown said the purchase could be made by the end of the summer.
When the boat comes, it would be the eighth such vehicle located between St. Louis and Minneapolis.