City Purchases Fire Engine and Ambulance to Replace Aging Vehicles

The typical lifespan for a city fire engine is 15 years, and the city’s fleet maintenance crews extended that by two years through continual maintenance.

The City of Carlsbad has purchased a new fire engine and ambulance to replace vehicles that have put in thousands of hours serving city residents. The replacements will be customized to meet the needs of the City of Carlsbad Fire Department and residents.

The aging engine has amassed more than 110,000 miles of hard driving while putting in 6,500 hours of service. The ambulance, a 2006 Ford, has accumulated 105,000 miles. The city usually replaces ambulances after four years or 80,000 miles, but city mechanics kept this ambulance going until maintaining it was no longer economical. 

“We want to get as much service out of our equipment as possible, but fire engines and ambulances are critical for public safety, so you don’t want to push them too far,” said City of Carlsbad Municipal Property Manager Joe Garuba. 

The city purchased the new emergency vehicles through the Houston-Galveston Area Council Cooperative Program, a nationwide cooperative of governmental agencies that uses a competitive process to obtain the best possible price on specialized equipment. Using the cooperative saved Carlsbad taxpayers thousands of dollars, said City of Carlsbad Fire Department Division Chief William Anderson. 

The price of the new fire engine, a Seagrave Custom Pumper, is $593,000, which is $24,000 less than the city paid for an engine two years ago. “The cost of the equipment always goes up, but we got a discount because the HGAC (Houston-Galveston Area Council) cooperative spreads the buying power,” Anderson said. “We’re always looking for the best way to support our fleet and residents without sacrificing the quality of our apparatus.” 

The City of Carlsbad Property & Environmental Management Department purchases and maintains the city’s vehicle fleet. The city purchases all its fire engines from Seagrave Fire Apparatus LLC, based in Wisconsin, so it has continuity for maintenance purposes. The price of the new ambulance, which will be built on a Ford truck chassis, is $200,000. The Fire Department expects delivery of the ambulance in early summer 2013, and the fire engine in early autumn. 

The City of Carlsbad Fire Department operates five fire engines and keeps two in reserve. It also operates a ladder truck, which is centrally located, and three ambulances that are spread geographically around the city. The reserve engines relieve active-duty engines that are undergoing maintenance, and are also available in the event of a large-scale emergency. Garuba said the engine in least repair would likely be put up for auction. The city budgets for new equipment through a Vehicle Replacement Fund.

–City of Carlsbad


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