GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — To rebuild some of Grand Rapids’ aging fire trucks it takes lots of money. Tuesday morning, Fire Chief Laura Knapp stood before city commission with a bold request.
She asked for nearly $4.4 million in funding. Her staff said a fire truck like the one at Grand Rapids’ fire station number nine desperately needs it. It’s 15 to 20 years old and running out of life.
“Essentially we’re using credit cards to purchase apparatus right now, and it’s very costly for us and we want to switch to a savings model,” Robert Pease, Strategic Planning Officer said.
The Grand Rapids Fire Department and the union couldn’t agree more. There’s a huge need to improve equipment without breaking the bank.
City commissioners joined in and unanimously approved the request for funding. That move made it the largest single funding approval in the department’s history.
Now the aging trucks can go a few extra miles.
“What it means on the inside of the apparatus, it will have a lighter chassis. It’ll have a smaller engine. A little bit smaller transmission. But on the outside it’ll be just as effective for our safe response to mitigate emergencies,” Pease explained.
“We expect to extend the life of that apparatus another 7 to 10 years which spreads the cost of that apparatus out another 7 or 10 years reducing the overall costs,” Knapp said.
The chief said the funding is expected to save 23 million dollars over the next 30 years.