The Everett City Council Wednesday night approved a contract to purchase a new ladder truck for $1,019,051.12. While that might sound like a lot of money for a single truck, Everett Fire Marshal Rick Robinson tells MyEverettNews.com that its much more than just a fire truck…
The new apparatus is scheduled to replace our 24-year old 1989 E-One 95’ ladder platform apparatus, which cost $530,000 when it was purchased. The aerial apparatus has specific high-rise aerial rescue and fire extinguishment uses, and is also the main “tool box” (jaws of life, stabilization and extrication equipment and tools) for rescue and extrication emergencies for motor vehicle and other frequent high-intensity rescue operations. It also carries large fans for removing smoke from structures following a fire incident. Along with those capabilities, it also is staffed to support basic and advanced emergency medical responses. While the frequency of the use of the 95’ aerial platform for rescue and extinguishment is relatively low, there is nothing else in our fleet that can do that job when needed, and there is regular use of the “tools” for vehicle extrication, de-smoking of buildings, and rendering safe of emergency scenes.
This 1989 apparatus was originally scheduled to be replaced at the 20-year point, which is seen to be the crossover age for maintenance costs and reliability for fire apparatus where keeping an old vehicle operational loses its financial advantage. Replacement was delayed until now due to budget constraints during the bottom of the economic downturn. Only one response was received from the well-broadcast Request for Proposals (RFP) and that was by the Rosenbauer manufacturer. It’s likely that other ladder apparatus manufacturers could not provide the equipment within the budget available, nor meet the rear-axle weight restrictions to conform with Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) allowance for use on state highways and older bridges in our community.
We have a very robust apparatus committee that oversees the manufacturing process and keeps expenditures to at or under budgeted dollars. We have been successful in this process with the two latest Rosenbauer engine apparatuses, which were delivered last year.
The safety engineering and manufacturing quality assurance of any new apparatus, but especially an aerial apparatus, is extensive because of the human risk factors involved with emergency rescue operations for both the firefighters and the those being rescued. The new apparatus is envisioned to be safely maintained and in service for 20+ years.