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Hawk Point, Mo. - It is not too often that a vehicle from the 1980s will be seen on the road anymore. Now, thanks to a 14-cent tax increase, the Hawk Point Fire Protection District will not have to depend on a fire truck from the 80s either.

Hawk Point Fire was able to purchase a 2018 Pierce fire truck to provide a necessary update to their firefighting arsenal as a result of the tax increase last November. The new fire truck replaced a 1985 Ford tanker as the main firefighting vehicle. 

The new truck provides markedly improved upgrades. It holds six firemen as opposed to the old model, which held two individuals and has a 1,000-gallon tank, new safety features, rear cameras and compressed air tanks attached to the passenger seats for efficient access. It is also equipped with all of the tools and medical gear necessary for emergency operations.

“It’s basically a rolling toolbox,” Fire Chief Bob Gauldin said.

Hawk Point Fire Protection District gets around 300 calls annually and covers approximately 140 square miles. Newer, more reliable tools and vehicles are necessary to ensure that the fire district can help the citizens of Hawk Point on their worst days.

In addition to the new fire truck, Hawk Point Fire is also acquiring updated tools, like the Jaws of Life.

“We promised the public that we would upgrade equipment,” explained Gauldin.

Hydraulic rescue tools, commonly referred to as the Jaws of Life, are used to assist in emergency rescue operations. Older versions of these life saving tools are cumbersome, heavy and require multiple firefighters to operate. The new, battery-powered versions that Hawk Point has are lightweight, quiet and come with an attached headlight to assist firefighters in the dark.  

The newer Jaws of Life allow more Hawk Point firefighters to assist individuals rather than solely operate the tools themselves. Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to emergency units, especially volunteer-operated units like Hawk Point Fire. Having one individual, as opposed to three, operate the equipment allows the other firefighters on the scene to attend to the injured individuals. This is life-saving technology when every second counts.

The new fire truck and equipment is easing some of the burden on this volunteer fire unit. However, it is still a stressful job.

“It’s a business where no business is good,” Gauldin stated. 

Hawk Point Fire Protection District has made much needed changes thanks to Prop CS: Proposition Community Safety. As a volunteer fire unit, having updated technology, equipment and vehicles allows the district to safely and efficiently respond to any call that comes to them.