Jan. 9—The Willoughby Hills Fire Department recently took delivery of its new command EMS chase vehicle, which Mayor Andy Gardner says is a critical part of the department's operations.
Over the next several weeks, the vehicle, which responds to almost every incident in the city, will be up-fitted with its radios, electronics, emergency lights and other equipment.
"We plan to have it on the road by the end of February," Gardner said.
In addition, the city has been told the construction of its new first-out fire engine will be starting in the coming months. The city expects delivery by the end of the summer and that attendees to the Touch a Truck event in September will be able to see it.
"The police and fire departments will be presenting programs throughout the year for our residents and businesses including Safety Town and crime prevention programs," Gardner said.
Touch a Truck allows children and adults to get up-close and personal with a police, fire or other service vehicle. Fire Chief Robert Gandee said the event not only allows the public to view safety and service vehicles but also to see where their tax dollars or donations go and have a better understanding.
"It's imperative to be able to provide the highest level of service possible," Gandee said. "People will look at all this equipment and say, 'I never realized you had to take care of all of this.' That's what being in emergency services and public safety is all about. It's being ready for an array of situations you may encounter."
Touch a Truck returned in 2021 after taking a hiatus due to the pandemic. The event included a parade that went from the School of Innovation on Chardon Road and headed east to the City Hall complex, 35405 Chardon Road.
"I am excited about everything that will be happening in Willoughby Hills in 2023," Gardner said. "The Recreation Commission has already started planning a full slate of activities for the new year."