RANDOLPH, NJ - After very thorough testing and research, the fire department presented the proposed replacement for Engine 31 to the township council at Thursday’s meeting.

“This [replacement] was in the 2016 budget, but it has taken us just a little more time to get this together,” said former fire chief, Steve Cohrs.

“At the fire station itself, they put a committee together, and they formed that about two years ago now… We assigned someone from our Board of Engineers group,” Cohrs explained. “We always submit the specifications to the DPW for their review.”

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After developing the set of requirements, the committee requested pricing from four manufacturers that they had purchased from in the past.

Two of the four manufacturers did not respond to the request for proposals. Needing a third bid, the committee discovered Spartan Emergency Response Vehicles and received a response with a competitive price.

While the fire department had not purchased from Spartan for any other vehicles, the manufacturer (called Crimson at the time) came in second on Randolph’s purchase of a ladder truck in 2010.

“Since we didn’t have experience with Spartan, we’ve done a whole lot of market research,” Cohrs stated. “I was out at a trade show last April in Indianapolis talking to Spartan…. We did interviews with other fire departments who have actually driven the apparatus.”

He further described the decision process: “We did do supplier demonstrations, about three or four times. We actually had Spartan bring a fire engine down to the fire academy and work with us on a drill one night.”

The committee began by comparing the features of the three manufacturers without looking at price to understand the value of their offerings. However, when factoring in pricing, they eliminated another manufacturer and had two strong offers.

Spartan rated higher in the “ease of use/ functionality” category, and the manufacturer fully met the specifications requested for the replacement of Engine 31. The Spartan vehicle also cost $2,000 less than the other, although both were under budget.

“I’m sure you do this all the time, and I’m not aware of it,” said Mayor Christine Carey in response to the presentation. “This is a fabulous amount of work and research and [it's] so thorough. I really appreciate it. Thank you for your service to the community, as well.”

Cohrs also provided the number of fire vehicles owned by the department: eight pumpers (carrying water and hoses), one ladder truck, one rescue truck, one brush truck and two chief cars.