Union Mills Volunteer Fire Department, Inc
Just a few financial facts
Cost to equip one firefighter with coat, pants, boots, helmet,
gloves and pager.... $3000.00
One self-contained breathing apparatus [one firefighter]
for interior work: $6800.00 to $7200.00
Annual insurance cost: $18000.00
Annual Utilities: $3500.00
Where the Money Goes
A proposed yearly operating budget is presented to the County Board of Commissioners, who have final approval of the district tax rate. This proposed budget is based on the routine operating expenses, such as insurance, utilities, maintenance, loan payments, etc., along with future needs of the department. The tax rate is set based on this budget. A certified audit of all expenses are presented to the Board of Commissioners each year. The financial year runs from July 1 of the current year until June 30 of the next.
The above is only a few cost associated with operation, others include building and equipment maintenance, fuel cost, replacement of obsolete or damaged equipment, miscellaneous department supplies, and funds set aside for future truck replacement. Purchase of quality equipment provides for longer service life with less maintenance cost, thus being the better investment for the long term. Because of careful planning and wise use of funds, the new building constructed in 1997 was paid for when complete [no borrowed money]. Also during that same year, a $35000.00 down payment made toward the purchase of the l997 Pumper Truck left a $98,000 balance financed through a lease-purchase agreement with a 5.89 percent interest rate.
From the 2000-2001 budget year, the department purchased six new self-contained breathing apparatus at an investment of slightly over $18,000. We were at that time using equipment more than twenty years old, these units are still available as reserve equipment.
From the 2001-2002 year budget we purchased new Turn Out Gear, [the protective coat and pants used for interior structure firefighting]. Many of the crew had gear passed along from previous users, and most gear exceeded 10 years of use. The cost of the upgrade was slightly over $18,000.
Also during this period we purchased each crew member a set of Wild Land Fire Protective Clothing. A matching state grant left the department paying $1100.
From the 2003-2004 year budget we have purchased three additional Self Contained Breathing Apparatus for use on our reserve pumper truck. This purchase will cost 9900 dollars.
We will also replace all radio communication equipment, including alert pagers. Changes in FCC regulations require us to replace all two way equipment. Pagers are being replaced due to age and condition. These changes will cost slightly over 11,000 dollars. We received a grant to cover half of the radio equipment purchase.
The 2006/2007 budget year brought about the purchase of a 2006 Pumper-Tanker at a cost of 178 thousand dollars plus the cost of necessary loose equipment. 75 thousand dollars of this amount was financed at 4.9 percent for four years. Also during that year we purchased a used 1999 Dodge truck and equipped it as a Brush Unit.
During 2008 we did an upgrade of our Breathing Apparatus with the purchase of four additional SCBA with voice amp and spare cylinders. This allows six units on each pumper. These SCBA were Scott AP-75 2.2. Also added this year is a combination deck gun/ground monitor for our first out pumper.
The 2009-2010 year brought no major purchase. Funds have been reserved for future use and the possible purchase of an all wheel drive pumper-tanker. As development continues in the higher elevation areas we need to be secure in reaching those areas. Much of the roadway through out those areas are steep, narrow and winding. Bad weather presents a major problem in accessing these structures. This vehicle would also be an asset during winter storms. At the current time we are considering a pre-owned truck as opposed to a new unit. Many large departments upgrade their fleet thereby making available some good apparatus for smaller departments.
December 2010, we made the final lease payment on the 2007 Pumper/Tanker. This move left us debt free.
In 2011 we disposed of our 1976 Pumper Truck as we make plans to purchase a new unit.
In December of 2011, we placed an order for a standby power generator for our primary building. Total cost of this project is 11,389 dollars. The generator was placed in service on February 22, 2012.
In May, 2012 received approval of the Office of State Fire Marshal 50/50 matching grant to cover half the cost to secure a generator for our original building. This and the current gas operated cooking equipment will make it available as a relief center when needed.
Also purchased with this grant was eight SCBA cylinders to replace older ones.
Purchased in September 2012 was a used 2006 Ford 350 with service body to be converted to a brush truck. The pump/tank skid unit was transferred from the 1974 truck. The older truck was sold.
We also received a Chevy 3500 4X4 truck through the Military Surplus Vehicle program. The only cost here is adding a pump an tank. (This vehicle has been returned to NC Forest Resource )
2014 we used the Office of State Fire Marshal 50/50 matching grant to purchase an air compressor and fill station for breathing apparatus (air pack) cylinders. This allows for more training and filling our equipment without hauling it to neighboring departments. This was a $42,000.00 investment.
Also during 2014 we have purchased vehicle extrication funded by from a gift from the Frank Nanney Estate.
2015 we received 30,000 dollars from the Office of State Fire Marshal 50/50 grant. Purchased items were Thermal Imaging Camera, Turn Out Gear, Pagers, Hose, Rescue Saw, and Foam.
2016 we received 21,000 dollars grant funding. Some items purchased were Turn Out Gear, Portable Monitors with Nozzle, Deck Gun with Nozzle, Dual Band Portable Radios.
The Corporation provides Workers Compensation Insurance and a supplemental accident and sickness policy to protect the firefighter who may be injured in the line of duty. The Corporation carries replacement value insurance for buildings, apparatus, and portable equipment used for firefighting. The Corporation provides for membership in the NC State Firefighters Association, which offers opportunity for educational scholarships for firefighters and their dependents, as well as educational assistance for dependents of firefighters killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.Firefighters are eligible for State and Federal Public Safety Officers line of duty death benefit, when they have met the required hours of meeting, training and/or drills.
Property owners within a rated fire protection district receive a reduction on their fire and lightening insurance premium. This reduction is approximately 15 percent. This reduction applies to those within the 5 mile drive from the firehouse. Plans are being made to extend this district to 6 miles drive distance. Fire protection is provided to those outside the rated fire districts within the county; funds are provided through a special taxing district and contract with the county government.
Each year a portion of our income is placed in a reserve account to provide for future major purchases.
In December 2016, we placed an order for a new Pumper / Tanker to be built by 4 Guys Fire Fire Apparatus.The unit was delivered May 19, 2018. Most of the equipment for this truck was purchased with an Office of State Fire Marshall 50/50 Matching Grant of 24,992 dollars to equip this apparatus. Paid at the time of delivery was $264,330.00, the balance of $119,771.00 will be paid as a five year lease with equal annual payments.
A part of the equipment are new face mask for the breathing apparatus worn during interior structure fire attack. These face mask have a Thermal Imaging Camera attached which allows the firefighter to see in the darkened smoky conditions. These cameras show images of fire, furniture, door openings and people in the area. The cameras eliminate the need to hand carry a thermal imaging camera.