FLINT (WJRT) (08/29/19) - One of the busiest fire departments in the country is getting brand new fire trucks.
The wear and tear on Flint's most-used trucks dates back to 1996.
In April 2019, the Flint City Council unanimously approved the purchase of two new fire trucks. The Community Development Block Grant had $1.2 million left over in funding.
For them, buying a couple new trucks for the fire department was a no-brainer.
"They tried to take care of the equipment as much as they can, but wear and tear over 25 years, there's only so much you can do," said Fire Chief Raymond Barton. "It's a good day to get the trucks replaced."
He is encouraged about the fire department after the latest budget passed with no firefighter layoffs and now some sorely needed new equipment.
For citizens, the most noticeable changes with the new fire trucks are a louder siren and a switch to LED lights, which are much brighter.
For firefighters, the pumps will work easier and there are now portable electrical fans to help clear smoke from inside the buildings. Before, they'd have to keep the fans outside because of the high pressure and toxic fumes.
The retiring fire trucks won't go to waste though. Barton said they already have a plan for that.
"The trucks that we use now as first-line trucks make good spare trucks. Those trucks shouldn't be on the front line, but they're good trucks that you can use temporarily, so we're going to be able to do that," he said.
If any of the newer trucks has to be taken out of service, Barton said the old trucks will be ready as temporary substitutes.
"We'll never have worry about if a truck goes out, we don't have a truck, and taking people off of one truck and putting them on another truck. We'll have spare trucks," Barton said.
The Flint Fire Department will have to be patient though. They're still waiting on the state to license the vehicles as medical first-responder units.
Still, Barton said he's looking forward to getting these trucks out on the street.