Escondido (CA) Investing $4M in Fire Department

The city of Escondido (CA) is investing more than $4 million to upgrade and modernize the fire department’s apparatus and equipment, reports sandiegouniontribune.com.

City council recently approved a series of contracts for the purchase of three fire engines, one brush rig, three ambulances, and 15 cardiac monitoring devices for fire apparatus and ambulances, the report says.

Escondido will pay $2.4 million for the three Sutphen engines. The city is allocating $1.7 million in surplus funds from last year’s budget as well as $950,000 from public facilities fees to pay for the new fire engines, the city’s first since 2013, the report says.

Officials note that the purchases are a good start, but additional investments still need to be made to bring the department’s fleet up to date; two of the department’s Type-1 engines are 22 years old, and two more engines are 18 years old, according to the report.

The new brush rig will replace one of the city’s three existing brush rigs, which is 29 years old. Its $400,000 purchase price will be covered by surplus budget funds, the report says.

Surplus budget funds will also be used for the majority of the $786,000 for three new Medix ambulances. Several of the city’s current ambulances are older than the typical life span of 5 to 7 years. The five front-line units are in service 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and are heavily used, officials say.

Also approved was spending $306,000 for six cardiac monitors, additional supplies, up-front maintenance, and data costs. The funds will be combined with a $345,000 FEMA grant, which will cover nine other cardiac monitors.

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