In an unprecedented purchase for the Oklahoma City Fire Department, 20 brand new engines are ready to respond to emergency calls.
Firefighters say they've been waiting in anticipation for the past year and a half. That's when the process of purchasing the new engines began. Built from the ground up to the department's specifications, the trucks did not disappoint.
“Everybody is smiling as they’re walking around and training and seeing the new features, and it’s a wonderful thing,” says Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson.
Taxpayers funded the trucks through the MAPS 3 sales tax. They cost around $500,000 a piece, but they come with all the bells and whistles.
The trucks are equipped with more horsepower, brighter LED lights and far more advanced technology than their predecessors. They each include safety features like seat belts and door sensors as well as back-up and turn signal cameras.
“It gives you a little pride and ownership when your equipment looks brand new,” says Capt. Brad Tobin. “You’re going to take extra care of it.”
There are 20 new trucks in total and 15 are traditional engines. Five of those traditional engines are still being built, but are expected to go into service in September.
The other five trucks are Wildland Urban Interface Engines that can spray on the move, much like a brush pumper but closer to the size of a traditional engine. The Wildland trucks are stationed around the outlying areas of the city.
Perhaps the biggest long-term benefit of this purchase, though, is standardization.
Fulkerson says, “We had a lot of different types of engines out there and they might not have all had the exact same configuration of compartments and interiors.”
Now, everything on each identical truck has its own place, which saves time and lives.
The Wildland Urban Interface Engines are already in service, and 10 of the traditional engines go into service within the next two weeks. The old rigs will stay at their respective stations and will serve as back-ups when the new trucks go in for scheduled maintenance.