JACKSON TWP.  Tradition means a lot to the firefighters/paramedics at the Jackson Fire Department. One of the traditions they adhere to is to dedicate a new fire truck before putting it into service. That dedication ceremony generally involves active firefighters, township trustees, retired firefighters and the community joining together to bless the truck and the firefighters who will be using it to save lives.

The Safety Center on Fulton Road was parked full of firetrucks from the other fire stations in Jackson Township. There were also many firefighters and people from the community ready to participate in a centuries-old tradition.

"The new Rescue 1 truck will replace the older Rescue 1 truck which is a 2002 and has 102,000 miles on it," Fire Chief Tracy Hougue said. "The new 2018 truck was made by Sutphen in Columbus which is the same manufacturer who built the tower truck. Part of our dedication today will be to perform a couple of traditions that are over 200 years old."

The tradition is that in the 1800s, firefighting apparatuses were pulled by horses. When firefighters returned to the fire station from a fire, they would wash off the apparatus and the horses. Then they would unhook the apparatus and the firefighters would push it backwards into the fire garage for easy access for the next fire.

To begin the ceremony on July 2 at the Safety Center, Luke Ediser gave a short prayer for the truck and for those firefighters using the truck. Then, Capt. Joe Hofer sprayed the truck down with water and a group of firefighters dried it off. Staying with tradition, a group of firefighters put their hands on the truck to simulate pushing the truck back into the garage. A slight modification was that the truck was backed in under power.

Hogue said the new truck cost $516,000. The department was able to transfer many of the tools off the older truck onto the new truck. The new truck has many updated features like lighter weight tools, battery powered hydraulics, accident extrication tools are now electric and it is a multiple use truck that can be used for rescue and fighting fires.

"We like that the manufacturer is an Ohio based company, the money stays in Ohio," Hogue said. "The company is family run and they make a quality product."

"I just want to thank the fire department for putting the truck together, I got a look at it last week and it looks great," Trustee President Todd Hawke said. "The equipment will be easier for the firefighters to get off the truck. Plus, we also like the fact it was manufactured by an Ohio company."

Hogue said the old Rescue 1 truck will be sold. The department is planning to advertise the truck in national publications.