Wichita is buying $7 million worth of new fire trucks.
The new equipment will replace aging and outdated fire equipment. The projected length of service on fire trucks is 12 to 14 years and the trucks being replaced will hit the 14-year mark about the time the new ones arrive, City Manager Robert Layton said.
The Wichita City Council approved the purchase Tuesday.
It had been on the council’s consent agenda, a part of the meeting where routine and noncontroversial matters are passed on a single vote. But council member Pete Meitzner said he didn’t think the council should approve such a large purchase without more discussion of how the new trucks will be used.
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The city is engaged in a pilot program to try to extend the service life of its heavy firefighting equipment.
For many years, the city responded to any emergency call with its closest unit.
Now, the Fire Department is working with the 911 dispatch center to try to cut down on sending the large firetrucks to medical calls if the emergency is not acute and the call can be handled using a smaller truck in a reasonable period of time.
That could save fuel costs and wear-and-tear on the large trucks, potentially extending the usable life span of the more expensive heavy units.
According to Fire Chief Ron Blackwell, the new equipment will include:
▪ A command van with the latest technology for commanding fire units in an emergency situations
▪ Three pumper trucks
▪ Two ladder trucks
▪ One “mobile light and air unit,” which provides tower lighting for use in nighttime emergencies and air to supply firefighters breathing masks