Boulder (CO) firefighters say a plan to use a converted pickup truck to respond to emergencies could hamper their ability to protect the public, reports the Daily Camera.
The fire chief says the truck is adequate and will save money, while union officials say it could delay response times.
The department plans to use a pickup truck equipped with sirens and lights to respond to medical calls as part of a two-year study.
“When we did our master plan, we took a look at the number of calls the fire department goes on, and 62 percent are medical emergencies,” said Boulder Fire Chief Larry Donner. By using the light response vehicle on those medical calls, the fire department is hoping to reduce fuel costs as well as wear and tear on the larger vehicles.
The pickup truck cost $60,000 after being outfitted with sirens and a camper to hold medical equipment, while the department’s new ladder truck cost about $1 million.
But the Boulder chapter of the International Association of Firefighters sent a letter to Donner objecting to the use of the light response vehicle, saying it could increase response times and lead to safety concerns. When the station has minimum staffing, if a crew on the light response vehicle got a call about a fire, it would have to go back to the station and pick up the engine as opposed to going straight to the scene.
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