Capt. Jason Deneau and probationary firefighter Bailey Himanek, of the Southfield Fire Department, hold two components of the Jaws of Life Aug. 30 at the Southfield Fire Department. The Southfield City Council recently approved the purchase of a new Jaws of Life, along with four fire engines.

Capt. Jason Deneau and probationary firefighter Bailey Himanek, of the Southfield Fire Department, hold two components of the Jaws of Life Aug. 30 at the Southfield Fire Department. The Southfield City Council recently approved the purchase of a new Jaws of Life, along with four fire engines.

Photo by Deb Jacques


New truck fleet coming to Southfield FD

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published September 5, 2018

 Deneau and Himanek give a closer look at the Jaws of Life at the station.

Deneau and Himanek give a closer look at the Jaws of Life at the station.

Photo by Deb Jacques

SOUTHFIELD — The Southfield City Council recently approved the purchase of several new vehicles and equipment for the Fire Department. 

At its Aug. 27 meeting, the council approved 6-0 the purchase of a 100-foot ladder truck, four fire engines, two other vehicles and a Hurst extrication rescue tool. Councilman Michael Mandelbaum was not at the meeting. 

According to City Council minutes, the 100-foot ladder truck and the four fire engines will cost the city over $2.9 million from the capital improvements budget. 

The cost of the replacement vehicles will total $100,000 from the equipment revolving fund, officials said. 

The Hurst tool, known as the Jaws of Life, will cost $29,000. Funds for the tool will come from the Fire Department’s operating supplies account. 

Council President Dan Brightwell said at the meeting that prices for the engines are expected to increase by 4.5 percent starting Sept. 18. 

Fire Chief Johnny Menifee said now is the time to act because of the predicted increase in cost. 

“The prices are going up, and what may possibly happen with tariffs in steel, the prices could probably go up even more,” he said. “I look at buying them all now as saving us money in the future.”

The new purchases will help the department look a little more uniform, as well. 

“(The trucks) will all be the same, which is a good thing too. We’ll have more uniformity with the department, and we can do preventative maintenance with them. If a starter goes out or a compressor — and we know if there’s a problem in one truck there might be a pattern,” Menifee said. 

Menifee said a fire truck is in “front line” status for 10 years, and then is a backup for another five years. Currently, the department’s reserve trucks are 18 years old. 

“All of our front line trucks have 100,000 miles on them. We’re the busiest department in Oakland County, as far as calls go, so we put a lot of miles on our trucks,” Menifee said. 

Menifee said in a previous report that in 2017 his staff responded to 14,347 calls for service, or about 39 calls per day. Of those calls, 2,139 were in response to fires and 12,116 were in response to medical emergencies. In 2016, crews responded to 14,132 calls for service. 

The replacement vehicles, two GMC Sierra four-door cab trucks, will be purchased from Todd Wenzel Buick GMC in Westland, according to council documents. 

“Each proposed replacement vehicle has been reviewed in terms of mileage and repair history,” Brightwell said at the meeting. 

Menifee said that the Jaws of Life that is being replaced is over 20 years old. It comes as a set of tools: a cutter, a spreader, a ram and a converter. Previously, crews were only able to use one tool at a time, but the new unit will allow responders to use the tools together. 

They’re battery operated, so they take up less space on the engine and can cut through the toughest of steel, Menifee said. 

“A big part is I try to be as fiscally responsible as I can and still remain the level of service and safety for our citizens and our business partners,” Menifee said. 

The Southfield Fire Department has been in operation since 1942 and also serves Lathrup Village. The department is made up of 88 people at five fire stations in the city.