East Franklin Deals With Insurance Regs & Drone Acquisition

East Franklin Fire Chief Mark Feeney discusses various issues with Township Secretary Debra Cornman and township supervisors at the September meeting.

New insurance regulations require East Franklin Township supervisors and their fire department to get together on planned activities.

The township’s insurance company wants supervisors to approve in advance all non-fire-related events such as parades or any time the fire crew is dispatched for extracurricular activity in the community.

East Franklin Fire Chief Mark Feeney said that is hard to do.

“One of the firemen in the area dies and I am sure we will be taking a truck to the funeral. That stuff will pop up and you don’t know it.”

Township Secretary Debra Cornman discussed it with supervisors and has a plan.

“At the beginning of the year, we are going to do it at the Reorganization Meeting,” Cornman said. “If you give me the highlights of the whole year, we will approve that plus anything else that you, as the fire chief, dubs as necessary or that you guys want to do. The big items that you do every year, carnivals and things like that, you can write it down and sign it. The supervisors at the beginning of the year will say: ‘and anything else that comes that is necessary by (the fire chief).’

Feeney said he would list activities now to the end of the year and email them to the supervisors. In December, he will create a list of pre-planned activities and submit them for the January Reorganizational Meeting to the supervisors.

Feeney also discussed with supervisors the possibility of getting a grant to purchase a high-tech drone.

“I think that drone is gonna be a tool, not only for the fire department, but for the police department. A couple times a year, we get kids or elderly people that walk away from a house. If you can get that thing up in the air quick, (it could be a real benefit).”

The drone could fly over a specific area or house and send back video to the command center. Some drones are capable of flying up to a mile away from the command center and continue to transmit video.

Feeney said the drone will cost approximately $19,000 and is not your average consumer model.

“This drone, being as big as it is and the expense, it can fly in all weather. It can fly in zero (degrees or) snow. It’s a top-of-the-line product.”

Feeney said it would be February before the fire department would know if they are awarded the grant through the State Firemen’s Commissioners.

Supervisor Barry Peters assured Feeney that if the grant did not cover the full amount of the cost of the drone, the township would “help with the cost”.

Feeney did not disclose how many firemen would be certified to fly the drone. New regulations require registration and testing for operators through the Federal Aviation Administration. [Click for More]