Petoskey (MI) Fire Apparatus Replacements Among Unfunded Needs

The Petoskey Department of Public Safety’s 100-foot aerial platform fire truck, a 1984-model truck, is one of several aging fire vehicles that city staff hope to replace. But, they are lacking a funding source for the purchases.

The broken speedometer is one example of the challenges city staff note that the 1984-model truck’s age can present.

“You can’t find replacement parts for it,” said public safety director John Calabrese.
This vehicle is one of several in the fire fleet that have been targeted in Petoskey’s recent capital improvement plans for replacement, but a lack of funding options keep the purchases — which are estimated to require more than $1.6 million — from moving forward.

Calabrese said the truck’s aerial ladder undergoes annual testing, and has remained in good working order. The truck has been used in extinguishing 51 structure fires in the community during the previous three years, as well as six more in neighboring communities.

Still, staff note that the 30-year-old vehicle has presented some electrical issues in the past year, with the need for repairs making it unavailable for use at times. The truck’s siren would not function when it was used to respond to one call in recent weeks, but that problem has since been fixed.

The truck’s lack of various safety features that are present on newer vehicles also figures in staff’s case for replacing it. Purchasing a similar new truck would cost an estimated $1.2 million.

The current 100-foot aerial truck was purchased used by the city in 2003 at a cost of about $270,000. Staff note that the truck is the only one in Petoskey — or anywhere in Emmet County — with the reach that would be needed to aerially attack a fire at some of the community’s taller structures.

The city also has a 2002-model fire truck equipped with a 70-foot aerial platform, and the neighboring Harbor Springs and Resort-Bear Creek fire departments each have a 75-foot aerial ladder unit. But given the height of several local buildings, and the limitations that surrounding structures and other obstacles can present in positioning the truck, public safety staff note that the taller ladder would be needed in certain firefighting situations.

When last evaluated in 2012, Petoskey’s rating improved from a 5 to a 4 on a 1-to-10 scale, on which 1 denotes the best protection. Staff noted that the availability of the 100-foot ladder was one of the factors allowing for the improvement, and that the 70-foot ladder won’t fulfill ISO’s ladder standards.

Along with the aerial truck, city staff see a need to replace three others dating back to the 1980s and early ‘90s, and hope to replace all three with a single vehicle.

One is a 1984-model pumper truck. This vehicle is Petoskey’s only one with a specialized hose setup for marina firefighting, and still gets put to use along with the department’s newer pumpers at numerous working fires. The 1984 truck is showing corrosion, staff note, with replacement parts sometimes difficult to find and some modern safety features not present.

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