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Posted: 01/01/14

WT fire chief, Dan Last,
retired at end of 2013

by KIMBERLY SCHERER
Observer Special Writer
      The Washington Township Fire Department had a few changes in 2013, most notably the retirement announcement of Chief Dan Last.
       In February, the township renewed his contract for another two years. At that time, Supervisor Dan O'Leary said if Last chose to retire before the two years was up, then he would recommend to promote within.
       At the end of 2013, Last announced his plan to retire. Soon after that announcement, contract negotiations began for Assistant Fire Chief Brian Tyrell. He will likely take over on Jan. 1, 2014.
       Union contract negotiations were also made in 2013 for the fire department that made a few changes. Both the full time and part time unions allow for tiered pay scale for new hires and mandatory training. Full time personnel will also see 6 percent raises over six years.
       The fire department also purchased some new equipment in 2013, one with the help of a FEMA grant.
       In May, the department purchased an emergency vehicle for $153,069. The next big purchase will be for a tanker trunk, to the tune of about $500,000.
       The $252,150 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant the department received in 2013 paid for 39 self-contained air packs. The township's cost was $25,215, 10 percent of the total cost. During an April meeting Last said this was the third year in a row the department had applied for the FEMA grant.
       "Third time's a charm," he said.
       The fire department also partnered with Armada and Bruce townships for automatic aid. Already the communities share mutual aid, meaning they assist each other when needed at fires. Automatic aid is a little different. The other community is dispatched automatically to any structure fire for backup support.
       "It's a good, collaborative effort," O'Leary said of partnerships during a December meeting.


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