Specifying & Financing Fire Apparatus in Today’s Economy

Firehouse Magazine asked a cross-section of apparatus manufacturers, large and small, about their recommendations and creative ideas on how to specify and finance apparatus in this challenging economic environment. An excerpt appears in the November issue...

Along those same lines, Boer said departments really ought to look engine size and realize that bigger is not always better. The initial cost of a big engine, 450 hp and up, is usually substantially more and they are almost always less efficient which increases the overall operation costs. Unless the department has extremely demanding mountainous terrain to conquer, there’s most likely no need for big engines, except for bragging rights, Boer said, noting his department, which covers a flat, farmland community, operates an engine with a 210 hp engine and a 1,500 gpm pump which will push it along at 65 mph – the maximum according to the department’s standard operating policies.

Boer recommends departments take a serious look at their wants versus needs when it comes to apparatus specifications.

Do you really need that super-duper foam system with everything on it, or can you get away a solid, basic foam system,” Boer said.

Specifying good, safe, reliable apparatus is always the best bet and then adding on the accessories as funding becomes available will strike that balance between needs and wants, Boer said.

Boer also said departments ought to have a serious discussion about the number of discharges that are specified on apparatus today. He’s seeing an expensive trend to put way more than necessary discharges on apparatus.

“You don’t need a discharge for every member of the department,” Boer said.