The local fire engine that sparkles in parades and is a standout among the community. People depend on it when they dial 911 to come and fix their emergency.
The community doesn't care what age the apparatus is as long it performs in their emergency. A good fire apparatus preventive maintenance program improves longevity of the apparatus and ensures operational readiness of the equipment before you hit the streets enroute to the incident scene.
Though if you have a 30 year fire engine that seen its best days it may be time to look for a new fire engine. Your department may have a replacement plan for fire apparatus. Or your department may have cycling plan instead of purchasing all new apparatus in the same year. Your department may have no plan due to not having sufficient funds set aside for replacing fire apparatus.
In today's world the costs the costs of a fire engine can depend if you want the cookie cutter or want all the available options there is to add on to the fire apparatus. This will be dependent on your truck committee and how your department specs out and purchases fire apparatus.
In the Mid 90s you can buy a decent Fire Engine from a reputable fire apparatus manufacturer for around $200k. Forward the time machine to 2014, a new fire engine costs range from $525 to $600k. Lets forward the time machine to 20 years from now. What will the price of a fire engine be? If the current trend continues with a faster increase in price then the rise of inflation. If you do the math it will be around 1 Million dollars for a cookie cutter fire engine with all the Airpacks, Radios, Hose, Nozzles, and other equipment onboard. The accountability level will be higher of ensuring the right driver operators are behind the wheel.
This will also drive up the apparatus insurance costs in the department. Plus it drive up the cost of repairs to new fire apparatus.
Fire Apparatus Manufacturers have a business and they must make money to stay in business plus they have a tough job in building the best safest reliable fire apparatus for emergency responders.
Due to all applicable industry standards over time have either made fire engines safer with less environmental pollution. Have we gone too far in all the industry standards with more electronics onboard the fire engine to drive up the cost too much?
How is a small volunteer fire department going to pay for a new fire engine every 30 years with their only income is donations and fundraisers such as chicken bbq's, bingos, dinners, etc? Some volunteer fire departments put more time in fundraising then training and running calls combined to keep the doors open.
Fire Departments will hang to old unreliable apparatus cause of the price of a new fire engine costs is too much. Most volunteer departments will put 10-30k each year repairing old apparatus and hope the fire engine gets to the fire and puts out the fire before breaking down. Some volunteer fire departments will decide to pay for other bills that keeps the lights and heat on versus paying for cost of repairs on an old apparatus. This is a sad fact glooming across our nation.
People will argue there are still well fine tuned fire apparatus that older than 30 years still running and still putting fires.
If your department has money or your department has an unlimited budget for fire apparatus this may not apply.
This is a call for action. For Municipal, State and Federal Leaders to get involved to help our volunteer fire departments that direly need the help. A Fire Tax may be option to defray the costs. This may not be well received among community residents though in the long run volunteer fire departments save a substantial amount versus a fully paid fire department. Most communities will not be able to afford a full paid fire department. FEMA grants must also help these struggling volunteer fire departments with fire apparatus.