Fire Chief Paul Strelchuk stands in front of the new Oakland Township Fire Department ambulance March 4 at Fire Station No. 1 on Collins Road.

Fire Chief Paul Strelchuk stands in front of the new Oakland Township Fire Department ambulance March 4 at Fire Station No. 1 on Collins Road.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Fire Department purchases new ambulance, drone

CPR, first aid courses offered to residents

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published March 7, 2019

 A new Matrice 200 series drone features two cameras, including one that captures thermal imaging. The Fire Department recently purchased it for assisting in search and rescue operations.

A new Matrice 200 series drone features two cameras, including one that captures thermal imaging. The Fire Department recently purchased it for assisting in search and rescue operations.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A brand-new advanced life support ambulance with a complex computer system is ready to serve township residents.

“It was delivered in December,” Oakland Township Fire Chief Paul Strelchuk said. The unit features a liquid spring suspension system with hydraulic fluid. “It levels out really nice and smooth,” Strelchuk said.

The new ambulance carries a price tag of $230,000, paid for with township budgeted funds.

“We have another one budgeted for 2021,” Strelchuk said. “We’ll see how this one holds up — see what we like and what we don’t like — and make changes. The dirt roads here are hard on trucks.”

The new unit is an “emergency room on wheels,” he said. Emergency medical technicians can tackle specialized treatments, including a tracheotomy recently performed by a paramedic in the ambulance, he said.

Strelchuk said each of Oakland Township’s two fire stations — one located on Collins Road and the other on Rochester Road — houses two ambulances and two fire engines. One of each of the two station ambulances is equipped with advanced life support equipment.

Both stations also feature a high-tech computer response system. “We have a couple of medical runs every day,” Strelchuk said. In 2017, the Oakland Township Fire Department made 942 runs, of which 568 were medical emergencies.

The Fire Department also recently purchased a drone with two cameras.

“It is used for search and rescue and for fires,” Strelchuk said, including its recent use at an Auburn Hills plastics factory fire. “We couldn’t get to the middle” of the fire, he said.

The drone can also aid officials during a possible suicide response. “We can use it to look in house and car windows,” Strelchuk said.

One of the drone’s two cameras is focused on thermal imaging. “A picture based on heat,” he said. The $14,000 drone was also paid for with budgeted township funds, he said.

The drone is kept at Oakland Township’s Fire Station 2, located on Rochester Road, north of Stoney Creek Road. The larger station also holds a boat for water rescue and an all-terrain vehicle used for grass fires, rescue efforts and parades.

The station also holds portable pools, which each can hold up to 24,000 gallons of water.

“For areas without fire hydrants,” Strelchuk said. “In Oakland Township, we have 50 percent of the area without hydrants. We are getting more hydrants as time goes on.”

The spacious Station 2 also has a large training facility room. “All the department training is done here,” Strelchuk said.

Local residents are invited to take American Heart Association Heartsaver cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, and first aid classes at Fire Station 2.

“They are held the third Saturday of every month,” said Paul Elder, Oakland Township CPR coordinator. “We give basic instruction and also give certification. Each participant gets their own mannequin.”

Students are trained in adult, child and infant CPR; the use of the automated external defibrillator; and choking/foreign body airway obstruction skills. A first aid class covers the care of common illness and injury.

Class fees start at $20 for a one-day workshop that lasts under five hours, Elder said. “The fee just covers the actual costs,” he said.

For more information or to sign up for the classes, visit www.oaklandtownship.org or call (586) 752-5013.  

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