Sunday, September 16, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: A new HP 100 ladder truck. The village is looking to replace its recently decommissioned ladder truck with a new one at cost of more than $800,000. | Courtesy Village of Maywood
The village of Maywood is looking to purchase a new ambulance and a new ladder truck for the Maywood Fire Department, which has been dealing with an aging fleet of emergency vehicles for years. The total cost of the two new vehicles could be close to $1 million.
Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh proposed the vehicle acquisitions during a regular board meeting on Sept. 4.
Bronaugh approached the board in 2013 about vehicle maintenance issues the department was dealing with back then. As a result, the board approved the emergency purchase of an ambulance before allowing the purchase of a new ambulance several months later. Currently, Bronaugh said, the department has three ambulances.
“The decision was made to keep the ambulance fleet on a rotation basis,” he said, adding that in 2013 the board planned to decommission, auction and replace each reserve ambulance in the fleet every five years. The vehicle that is scheduled to be replaced has 81,000 miles on it, the chief said.
“It would be at the point where we’d start experiencing mechanical failure,” he said. “I want to avoid that by putting that dire money toward better use.”
The cost of the new ambulance would not exceed $114,183, according to department documents. The village has already budgeted for the expense, Bronaugh said.
The purchase of the new vehicle would be through the Houston-Galveston Area Council Cooperative Purchasing Program, which would facilitate the bidding process for the new ambulance.
Bronaugh also recommended that the board decommission the department’s current aerial ladder truck, which has a cracked frame, and approve the purchase of a new ladder truck, which could cost close to $1 million, according to cost estimates the chief presented.
“This vehicle has been a topic of discussion on and off for several years now,” Bronaugh said of the 103-foot ladder truck, which ne noted the department has had since 1997.
“I have continuously made the efforts to maintain this vehicle for use, to keep it on the street for as long as possible, because this vehicle is expensive,” the chief said. “In addition to that, this vehicle gives us the ability to perform vital functions at a fire incident.”
Bronaugh said that the ladder truck’s functions range from carrying lighting equipment during night-time operations, carrying ground ladders in the event that firefighters need to rescue someone from a building that’s at least two stories tall and carrying an emergency generator in case an addition power source is needed at the scene of an emergency, among many others.
Based on two cost estimates that Bronaugh presented, a new ladder truck could range between roughly $855,00 and roughly $914,000. Those cost estimates, however, could likely be higher than the actual costs of the new vehicle when depreciation is factored into the purchase price.
Bronaugh said that manufacturers of new ladder trucks often drive them around the country to exhibitions and to different fire departments, which could slightly lower their value.
“Ther’s no disputing that this vehicle is expensive, but this is a vital piece of equipment needed for our ability provide fire protection,” the chief said. “I have used this vehicle on a water reduce incident, downed power lines and other situations that could be considered emergency or fire department-related.”
Bronaugh said that the department has responded to more than 300 emergencies this year, 20 of them structure fires.
Bronaugh said that it would be more cost efficient to simply purchase a new fire ladder instead of pour more money into maintaining the current one. He said that the department applied for federal grant funding to try to offset the cost of purchasing a new truck, but was denied because the truck wasn’t old enough.
The village could possibly offset the cost of a new ladder truck by auctioning off the current one, which the chief said still has some valuable parts, such as the emergency generator.
The board voted unanimously to decommission the current ladder truck and to allow the chief to go ahead with the bidding process. Trustee Melvin Lightford was absent.
The board is expected to make a final vote on the aerial ladder truck purchase at a regular meeting on Sept. 18. VFP
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