NCFD Chief Steve Trusty 001

“It’s not ‘My’ department, it’s ‘Our’ department,” stresses Steve Trusty as he answers questions about his first six months serving as New Carlisle’s Fire Chief. Trusty has 42 years of fire-fighting experience behind him, most of it in the military. He served in the New Carlisle Fire Department for four years before being promoted to Fire Chief in December of 2015.

Chief Trusty is proud of what has been accomplished in the past six months. Citing his military background, he is quick to point out that it has been a team effort, “We’ve really excelled in the last six months, and I am a firm believer in that you are only as good as the people you have working for you. ‘We fly together; we crash together.’ There is a lot of Talent in this department. My officer staff is outstanding and, together, our two Assistant Chiefs have nearly 100 years’ worth of experience between them. Either one of them could sit at this desk and know everything that has been going on. If something would happen to me, there would be no interruption of service to the community.

Without going into detail, Trusty says boosting department morale has been his principal challenge in his first six months as Fire Chief, “A fire department is like any family, there will always be some bumps in the road at times. This is especially true when a new Chief comes in (because) no one knows exactly how things will change or what to expect.”

One thing Chief Trusty does to boost morale is making sure promotions happen from within the department, “We use our Talent to fill leadership positions. It is encouraging when you see your co-workers being rewarded for working hard, instead of bringing someone in from outside the department; it also helps build trust because you’ve already been working with that person and know what to expect.”

An upgrade in some equipment has also helped build department morale. Trusty says an air compressor was recently donated to the division, making it possible to fill Fire Fighters’ air bottles locally instead of traveling to Pike Township or Bethel-Clark to do so. The division also recently made a $24,000 investment when it purchased a “LifePak 15” heart monitor device, a necessary purchase since the department’s other LifePaks will be going out of date this year.

Trusty says the department is also currently doing a fundraiser and applying for a grant through Workers’ Comp to purchase a “LUCAS” CPR tool. The LUCAS tool is an automated CPR device that does “perfect CPR” and makes transporting patients in an ambulance safer for both the patient and paramedics. This is especially important since New Carlisle’s emergency patients are frequently transported to Dayton and Springfield hospitals.

The New Carlisle Fire Department functions as a part-time/pay per call department, and in the past six months the Department’s rolls have increased from 40 to 60 people. Chief Trusty says that when figuring for the cost of healthcare for full-time personnel, the increase in employees actually helps the city save money. However, every new firefighter hired needs outfitted with equipment, and that can get expensive.

Chief Trusty explains, “To outfit a firefighter from boot to helmet is $2,800. That doesn’t include uniforms or training, just their bunker gear--and no matter what (bunker gear) looks like, it only has a 10-year shelf life, so it is something that frequently needs replaced.” Trusty makes sure the department is continually applying for grants to help offset the costs it takes to run the department as much as possible. The division recently applied for a $65,000 grant to help pay for equipment and bunker gear for its growing number of employees.

Even though he is the Fire Chief, Trusty isn’t above going out on a call or working on a rig. On Mondays he is on duty for 24 hours as a Battalion Officer and on Tuesdays is on duty for 24 hours on the Medic. A few weeks ago the department was called out three times in one weekend for fires. Each time Chief Trusty went out on the call—once as a Command Officer working on a hose line for a fire in Bethel-Clark. “If you’re on scene or on duty, it doesn’t matter what the job is, if it needs done you’re gonna do it,” explains Trusty.

The Chief says he is also working hard for transparency and towards getting the division more involved in the community, “This is where we live. Each one of us represents the division and is responsible for the division’s reputation. It’s important for people to see us, to get to know us, and for us to know those whom we serve.”

At the end of the day, Chief trusty says he “feels blessed” and that he loves his job, “I am privileged to get to work with a fantastic group of people in a family atmosphere. I’ve known some of these people for a number of years and getting to work with them is great.” Trusty looks forward to continuing serving with them for a long time to come.

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