BAYLIS, Ill. (WGEM) – The Baylis Fire Department is investing in new equipment, from trucks to gear, even though it’s working very well and even though they don’t have the immediate funds to pay for it.

Fire Chief Tom Lewis said they had to do so to meet state deadlines and not be penalized.

A few weeks ago, the department received the seven new participation coats and pants they ordered six months ago and new bottles of SCBA to meet state requirements. The old equipment and cylinders were over ten years old, which exceeds the prescribed expiration date. Lewis said they didn’t have as many fires as big cities, like Quincy, so their equipment was less worn out.

Lewis said he was able to obtain both items thanks to a $24,000 grant from the Illinois Fire Marshal.

He said they will need a new water tanker that will hold twice the amount of water than their current supply because they are in a rural area and need that extra water supply.

Lewis said they may need to take out a loan to pay for this one.

“We’re looking at using, we’re looking at something between $30,000 and $100,000 and going back to our banks to get loans for that,” Lewis said. “Or, we could go back to the state fire marshal.”

Lewis said if they took out a loan from the bank, they hoped they would be offered a low interest rate, just like the five-year loan on their truck they recently paid off.

He said that while the Illinois Fire Marshal is an option, it’s not a guarantee they’ll get another grant from them.

Lewis said rising prices are another factor that could challenge the department’s budget.

“If we had purchased the response equipment a year ago, we would have saved $1,400,” Lewis said.

Lewis said that to budget well, he would stay diligent about the little things, like filling up with gas when prices went down.

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