Ross, Texas –
Through the Defense Department’s Firefighter Property Program, Texas’ Ross Volunteer Fire Department recently received an excess military truck and converted it into a tanker for firefighting.
At the federal level, the program is a partnership between the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services, which collects used military equipment from the services, and the U.S. Forest Service, which ensures the equipment finds its way to firefighters that can put it to use.
“Our department is very pleased to have received the 2003 5-ton apparatus and a $20,000 slip-on unit grant that allowed us to convert the truck into something that can be used as a large brush truck or tanker, since it can carry 1,700 gallons of water and has foam capability,” said Ross VFD Fire Chief Joey Jaska.
The department’s service area not only includes homes and structures but also farm and pasture land.
Within the state, the Forest Service has a partnership with Texas A&M University’s Forest Service. They provide grants and oversee conversion and placement of the equipment from DLA.
“This truck will allow the department greater capacity when protecting their service area, giving them an increased water supply and a dependable means of transporting it,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Fire Coordinator Matthew Schlaefer.
Established in 1976, the Ross VFD is grateful for the continued backing by local residents.
“Our community understands the importance of having local fire service and is very supportive,” said Jaska. “The grant stipulations for accepting the military truck [were] to paint it a non-military color and make it service ready. Their generous contributions helped in building this truck into the firefighting machine that it is.”
Jaska added that the truck has already responded to two grass fires since being put into service.
Texas A&M Forest Service says it is committed to protecting lives and property through various fire department assistance programs. Since joining the program in 2005, more than 700 retired military trucks have been issued to volunteer fire departments across Texas.