The time has come to purchase a new fire truck and we are here to help. This is part two in a four-part series that will detail how to make the right choice when purchasing a new fire apparatus for your crew.
Last time, we examined the need for new equipment and discussed assembling a 4-7 person committee to act on the decision. Part 2 will discuss how to conduct comprehensive research and inform yourselves thoroughly to make an educated decision.
Conduct Preliminary Research
There are numerous areas to outline when beginning research of your new apparatus. First, the committee should determine what type of truck will best fit the community’s needs. Multi-purpose vehicles can often meet the majority of current needs and allow flexibility for future city growth. Next, identify specific questions you want to know about the fire apparatus as well as where to search for in-depth information. Some reputable sources of information include FDIC International, Fire Apparatus Magazine, and Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association.
Create a Timeline
Then you must create a timeline. This is important to set expectations. Typically the process of purchasing a new fire apparatus takes 6 months to a year. The last step in your preliminary research is to set a budget. Understand how much money is available that the community has set aside and research other options for funding. Many banks offer “lease to buy” programs and your community may also be eligible for grants. Search for a grant through FEMA AFG Program– Assistance for Firefighter Grants, Forestry Grants, State Grants, and Capital Improvement/Bonds. Before moving on, be sure to have a budget set that the committee all agrees on.
Gather Detailed Information on Applicable Trucks and Manufacturers
This step is all about gathering as much information about fire apparatus options as possible so that the committee can outline specifics on their wish list. Fire trucks are always improving and there are a lot of options out there. Attending your state conference or trade show can be an efficient way to look at many different fire apparatuses up close.
It is also a good idea to contact neighboring departments who have purchased a new truck recently to see if they have any advice or regrets about their decision. The end goal of this step is to have a detailed outline of exactly what kind of fire apparatus your department is looking to buy written in a document to go out for bids.
In part two of Best Practices For Purchasing A New Fire Apparatus, we outlined how to gather research and information to make a well-informed decision. Now you have the knowledge and a clear idea of what apparatus you are looking to buy. Remember that Midwest Fire makes the highest quality fire fighting equipment and are here to help! Come back soon to read part 3!