The City Commission of Arkansas City voted unanimously July 18 to approve the purchase of several pieces of rescue equipment for the Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department.City of Arkansas City logo

The equipment includes an Inmar inflatable rescue boat, a trailer with which to transport it, a Marsars ice rescue sled and two Mustang ice rescue suits.

“As you’re all aware, last year we had three water rescue events,” said Fire Chief Bobby Wolfe.

During those events, rescuers used a rigid Jon boat to help the individuals who found themselves stuck or in danger.

“I’ve always had reservations about using Jon boats,” Wolfe admitted, due to their length and the ease with which they can become swamped or overturned.

The equipment the ACFD sought includes a flexible, inflatable boat that can be maneuvered easily in swift water, as seen in a demonstration video Wolfe showed the commissioners.

In addition to being more maneuverable, the boat is more lightweight and can be deployed from almost any point on a river, not just a boat ramp.

The boat also is capable of carrying four individuals and can be righted easily if it is overturned or swamped.

Wolfe plans to send a few of his firefighters to specialized training in Oklahoma City to learn how to operate the boat and perform swift-water rescues.

He predicted they will become more prevalent as the popularity of water activities on the Arkansas and Walnut rivers continues to increase.

The total cost of the rescue equipment will not exceed $11,912.97. Although this was not a budgeted expense, City Manager Nick Hernandez said the money will be diverted from ACFD’s large garage doors, which originally were slated to be replaced this year. Hernandez said the springs on all of the doors were replaced, so the doors themselves are not as urgent of a need.

In other business, the commission:

  • heard a 2018 budget request of $20,000 from the Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • heard a financial update from South Central Kansas Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Holly Harper and Chief Executive Officer Virgil Watson.
  • unanimously approved the July 11 minutes as written.
  • voted unanimously to schedule a public hearing to determine if six structures in town are unsafe or dangerous. The hearing will be at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5 in the commission room at City Hall.
  • unanimously approved the purchase of a Kubota four-wheel-drive tractor for an amount from Schmidt & Sons, Inc., of Winfield, for an amount not to exceed $41,653. The cost will be offset by around $20,000 in proceeds from the sale of several used vehicles on the Purple Wave auction website.
  • unanimously approved an ordinance adopting by reference the updated 2017 Uniform Public Offense Code.
  • unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Kansas Legislature in establishing passenger rail service in the state of Kansas; encouraging the Legislature to provide funding for the expansion of Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer route from Oklahoma City to Newton, and urging elected officials to support this indicative at both the federal and state levels.
  • voted 4-0 to approve spending up to $9,000 to assist Valley Road homeowners in extending their service lines to connect with the new water line that recently was installed through that neighborhood by Nowak Construction. Each resident would receive up to $1,000 in assistance upon providing proper receipts within 90 days. Commissioner Jay Warren abstained from voting because he is one of the homeowners who will benefit from the assistance. Commissioners also discussed extending the project west along Madison Avenue and Pin Oak Drive.