A Carbon County business is happy that it could help out fire companies in a number of hurricane ravaged New Jersey communities.
This past Saturday, eight employees of KME/Kovatch Fire Apparatus in Nesquehoning, packed up supplies and traveled with the group "Carbon County, Pa., helps Sea Bright, N.J." down to Long Branch, where they met with fire departments from the surroundings communities and provided servicing for a number of fire trucks.
"We see storms around here and how bad they are and you couldn't even compare it," said John Kovatch IV, director of customer service for KME. "It was a reality check."
He explained that a total of 33 trucks were scheduled for servicing but because of the hundreds of fire calls the departments were going out on daily, only 21 trucks were available for servicing.
He and his crew went to work on the vehicles using supplies they brought with them and, in approximately 10 hours, serviced all the vehicles.
Each truck received a full fluid and filter change, as well as maintenance to the rear axles, transmission and engine. All supplies were given to the fire departments by KME at no cost.
"The people were very appreciative," Kovatch said, adding that many of the shops in New Jersey were overwhelmed by the destruction and didn't have time to service the emergency vehicles until they broke.
In addition, each fire department got a detailed service report on the vehicles, which outlined what was done, and what needed to be addressed in the near future.
Only one of the 21 vehicles had major problems and was recommended not to be used until the problems were repaired. Currently, that vehicle is being repaired by one of KME's dealers in the area.
KME's involvement began the day after Superstorm Sandy tore through the East Coast.
Kovatch explained that they made a few phone calls to fire departments in that area and asked if a service call was needed. At the time, there was too much action going on and fire trucks were needed at all hours of the day.
When Kevin Steber, a Summit Hill volunteer firefighter and sales engineer for KME, began his mission to help his friend Chad Murphy, the Sea Bright fire chief, and the people of Sea Bright, KME again asked if there was anything they could do.
Murphy told them yes, the trucks needed servicing, so KME began setting up a plan.
"We took our service truck, racing trailer and filled the bus with people and went down," Kovatch said.
Of his experience at Long Branch, he added that it was well worth it.
"It was nice to be down there and help out," Kovatch said, noting that his typical daily operations put him behind a desk all day rather than in the field. "It was nice to go down and work hands-on with the trucks and know we made a difference, all of us together."