Cost cutting move changes Spokane Fire Dept. response methods

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on September 17, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 17 at 6:00 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Fire Department has a new tool to respond to some calls that are deteremined to not need a large response. The change is expected to save Spokane money according to city leaders.

The tool is called Alternative Response Units or ARU’S. SFD leaders said they will keep fire trucks available for fire and more serious emergency calls across Spokane.
Leaders added that they have had to send a three person crew to help people with minor injuries. Staff said these are problems that one person can handled.

Starting Tuesday, the department will use the ARU’s available in three locations across Spokane. The units will have the equipment and technology for paramedics to arrive on scene by themselves or to assist a larger problem.

The ARU is best for any call involving small cuts, headaches or small fractures according SFD leaders. This will leave a fire truck and response car available for house fires, heart attacks or a pregnancy issue.

City leaders said the cost of one fire truck can pay for an entire fleet of ARU’s and they will have some of the same gear found in both of these larger rigs.

The goal is to bring down the use of fire trucks and more expensive vehicles so the city gets more out of them and will not have to replace them as often.

Spokane leaders have decided to use the ARU’s Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. because they believe that is when they will be most effective.

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