New Spokane Fire Dept. vehicles save taxpayer's money

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 8:47 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Spokane Fire Department did a study with some vehicles called Alternative Response Units or ARU’s about six months ago. The smaller vehicles respond to medical calls and those not requiring a full fire truck with three firefighters.

The results were positive for taxpayer checkbooks. However, 2 on Your Side learned those rigs are not on the roads.

The department has three ARU’s. The rigs were SUV’s the department already had that were converted and costs were minimal to add the appropriate equipment.

MORE: Cost cutting move changes Spokane Fire Dept. response methods

Before the department got the ARU’s, large fire trucks would respond to all calls, no matter how minor. The trucks require a three-man crew and only one person is needed in the ARU’s.

A six-month trial adding the ARU’s to the mix proved a big win, not just for the department but for the taxpayer as well.

KREM 2 on Your Side learned maintenance cost per mile for the department’s largest truck is about $3.78. The ARU’s cost per mile is just $.32.

Department leaders said the ARU’s will start regularly working by the end of the month and to save the taxpayer even more money, they will be strategically placed.

Department leaders want to reassure the public that ARU’s are just additions and the fully equipped trucks are still one call away.

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