The Carter County Commissioners approved the purchase of 42 pairs of structure boots for two local fire departments, but will have to rescind their approval at their next meeting because of a mixup on the agenda.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners approved the purchase of 20 pairs of structure boots for the Fox/Graham Fire Department, and 22 pairs of structure boots for the Lone Grove Fire Department. However, Carter County Commissioner Joe David McReynolds said the commissioners will have to rescind the approval because the departments asked for wildland gear, not just boots.

“It was just a mix up with the agenda,” McReynolds said.

The commissioners also tabled the purchasing of 10 sets of tech gear for the Sneed Fire Department, 10 sets of tech gear for the Springer Fire Department, and 20 sets of tech gear and 7 pair of structure boots for the Wilson Fire Department. McReynolds said this was because he hadn’t spoken with these departments yet, and wanted to be sure it was the gear they wanted.

Last week, the commissioners approved the purchase of 10 sets of dual gear for the Sneed Volunteer Fire Department, and 15 handheld Kenwood radios and 15 pagers for the Woodford Fire Department.

When purchasing gear for departments, fire crews have several options as to what kind they want their team to have such as dual gear, wildland gear, or bunker gear. Dual gear is a multi-purpose set of firefighting clothing that can be worn to extrication, good-will calls, for wildland firefighting, training or explorer programs. While bunker gear will still need to be purchased to wear inside burning buildings, dual gear saves departments the added cost of purchasing wildland gear in conjunction with EMS gear and technical gear.

“I’m going to wait until after the next fire chief’s meeting to purchase any gear,” McReynolds said. “I want to see exactly what gear each department wants, and then order it all at once.”
While some of these departments also fall under the jurisdiction of the city they serve, the Carter County Commissioners are still responsible for purchasing some of their gear since they levied a sales tax to do so. In 2006, Carter County voters overwhelmingly approved a quarter-cent sales tax to be levied for a period of five years and benefit 14 Carter County fire departments. The tax went into effect on Jan. 1, 2007 and expired Dec. 31, 2011.

“The sales tax listed all rural fire departments by name,” McReynolds said. “So no matter what title they are, they can use that money."

Though the tax is not still being levied, the commissioners have been frugal with their disbursement of the funds and still have money in the sales tax account to benefit the departments.
The commissioners will look to replace the gear for many of the local departments because their bunker gear is about to expire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire gear should be replaced every 10 years, or sooner, depending on how much action the uniforms see. But as technology has made other types of gear available, departments will need to decide what combination of gear works best for them.

In other actions the commissioners approved a motion to enter an agreement with Guy Engineering, of Tulsa, to provide engineering services for South Carter Street. The Commissioners plan to begin repaving the road next year with the help of funds from the Chickasaw Nation, McReynolds said. They also approved 31 floodplain permits for Enable Gas Gathering, LLC so that the company can put in a 30 inch gathering line that starts near Tatums and runs through District 2.

“If they go off the plans they submitted it won’t interfere with the floodplains at all,”  said Paul Tucker, Carter County emergency management director.