GREENFIELD — Members of the Greenfield Fire Department recently traveled more than 2,800 miles to Bradenton, Fla., to work on the design of their new custom fire engine at the Pierce Manufacturing facility.
Earlier this year Greenfield City Council approved $600,000 in the 2019-20 budget for the purchase of a 2019 Pierce Saber Type-1 Fire Engine to replace its aging fleet. Currently, the department’s front-line fire engine is 16 years old, while its reserve fire engine has reached 23 years.
According to Fire Chief Jim Langborg, industry standards recommend changing a fire engine from front-line status to reserve status at 15 years and retiring reserve apparatus at 25 years.
“Due to the funding challenges of the past, our current fleet was purchased as used equipment and a lot of regular maintenance had to be deferred,” Langborg said. “This resulted in a lot of breakdowns that have been very expensive. Last year we spent over $30,000 in fire apparatus repairs.”
To offset costs in the future, the city has established a Capital Replacement and Needs fund to assist with large purchases, such as a fire engine or a ladder truck, which can cost up to $1 million. Langborg said the department is also looking into ways to increase the life of its fire apparatuses through the use of a Quick Response Vehicle (QRV), which is typically a pickup truck or SUV that primarily responds to medical calls.
“Doing this allows us to put miles on a less expensive vehicle and keep people back at the station for additional calls,” he said.
From January through October of this year, the Greenfield Fire Department had 134 instances of calls happening within 30 minutes of each other.
“Sometimes they happen within minutes of each other,” Langborg said. “Having two response vehicles helps us respond to the needs of our community better.”
Last week Greenfield Fire Department Capt. Emmanuel Vega, Firefighter Tyler Keisling and Engineers Carlos Vega and Johnathon Morales visited the Pierce Manufacturing facility to work with staff on the new fire engine’s design. Langborg said the apparatus will have the capability to carry a 35-foot ladder, allowing access to three-story buildings.
The new fire engine is scheduled to arrive in July 2020.
“It will take us approximately one month to put it in service because we will need to transfer equipment from the old engine, train everyone and install our communications equipment,” Langborg said.
Fire personnel are also working with the local Public Works department to create an improved maintenance program that ensures preventive maintenance is performed regularly on the fire engines.