05/01/07 37 W, 1 I - + 13 - 21 Brush Trucks


Several if not all of this year's brush trucks have been delivered to their respective Wake County fire departments. Ford chassis with Seagrave body. Here's Zebulon's, courtesy of ZFD:





At $80,000 each, they ought to climb trees. Whatever happened to pick ups with skid units? No wonder there is no money left to staff fire stations…
Concerned Taxpayer - 05/01/07 - 23:04

Cuz’, you gotta have them chrome rims, special light packages and all the bells and whistles!!! Heck with staffing!!!
Guest - 05/02/07 - 11:48

I like what he is thinking. Imagine the staffing they could afford instead of this “crap”.
Charles Swahwb - 05/02/07 - 12:24

Chrome rims and chrome nerf bars, they help put fires out!!!
Guest555 - 05/02/07 - 12:37

As much as I agree with this discussion, I can’t help but mention that this is small change compared to what some of our money goes to. Ever heard of the Heery projects? Stations need parking lots patched, only to have them completely dug up and repaved at the tune of a couple hundred thousand dollars. Now that’s something to start a blog about. A couple million dollars on dirt and concrete when much less would suffice; how many firefighters is that?
Concerned II - 05/02/07 - 12:53

Back on topic… was there a change in the body supplier? I know when we (WWFR) got our new brush truck, it had a standard utility body on it (Reading, I think). I noticed the Seagrave diamond plate body on ZFD’s, and am curious if the apparatus committee has changed the spec.
[barrett] - 05/02/07 - 13:16

Last year’s brush trucks, I’m told, cost a bit less than $60,000. The chassis, body, and skid units were purchased separately, which required the vehicles be moved between vendors during construction. This also meant dealing with three different vendors for purchasing and, later, for repairs.

This year’s brush trucks, at the base level, cost a bit less than $80,000. But with per-department add-ons, the cost increases ever so much.

Why was a flatbed style chosen this year? Don’t know. I’m told that the apparatus committee, which designed the spec, chose a single-source vendor to eliminate the confusion of dealing with separate vendors. Was the second a factor of the first? Don’t know.

Five brush trucks were purchased this year, with 100% funding by the county. Apex, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Wake Forest, Zebulon.

So, for those eying the $20K increase, that’s $100K above last year’s cost. What does $100K buy with regard to staffing? Three full-time positions, estimating $30K for entry level, for salary and benefits?

Commence marching down to the next Wake County Fire Commission meeting, to become involved in future decisions such as brush truck spec’ing.
Legeros - 05/02/07 - 18:07

Barrett – to answer your question, yes there was a change in supplier. From what I know, the apparatus committee used a new spec for this year. They put it out for bids, and Seagrave was awarded the bid. The five departments Mike mentioned were notified that they had a truck scheduled to be replaced (based on the replacement schedule). Each could pick from about ten options to add on the base, much like the pumper/tanker orders (except much fewer options). I think Garner and a couple others are scheduled to get brush trucks this coming year. I’m not sure if they plan to order this coming year’s off the same spec, but I think so.
Zeb101 - 05/02/07 - 18:48

I hope the process was better than the previous brush truck orders. This is how it went last time : Truck Chassis delivered to station, Drive truck to Rocky Mount for utility body, pick up truck in Rocky Mount and take to Pittsboro for tank and pump. Whatever happened to one company buying the Chassis and doing the rest?
Rauer - 05/02/07 - 19:39

Thanks for the detail Mike. With direction of the current apparatus committee, it sounds like next years brush trucks will likely be on the Pierce Quantum chassis with all-wheel steer. I think dealing with 3 vendors was worth $100,000 to the citizens. Stop the insanity.
Concerned Taxpayer - 05/02/07 - 23:51

Ok. Let me see if I can understand this. After a quick internet search, a 1-ton Ford F-350 pickup truck – specified by the NC Forest Service for wildland firefighting – is available on State Contract for $21,999 and Slagle’s is selling their “top of the line” skid unit starting at $11,800. So for around $40,000 (gotta have some options in there), Wake could have purchased functional brush trucks? Can anyone here explain why the taxpayers are financing these $80,000 toys?
Concerned Taxpayer - 05/03/07 - 00:10

Occam’s razor, that principle of logic, says something like “when faced with a bunch of explanations for something, the simplest one [that makes the fewest assumptions] is the best one.” In this case, seemingly overpriced (or over-spec’ed?) brush trucks, there are a couple “simplest” explanations. Simplest explanation #1: They represent the greatest functionality and value for the money. Simplest explanation #2: The opposite of the first explanation, e.g. the county got hosed. (It’s a pretty good logic problem, if you think about it.) So which way should we go? Which direction should we base our first impressions?? Myself, wisely or naively so, I am inclined in the first direction. That the trucks are designed for requirements that the NC Forest Service rigs don’t meet, ditto top-of-the-line skid units from places like Slagle’s. But this line of thinking, my line of thinking, leads down the path of speculations and assumed justifications and before long I will sound like a butt-boy for the WCFC (too late, right? LOL). Perhaps an Apparatus Committee member will make an appearance and enlighten this forum. Or, a reader will touch base with that group and report back.
Legeros - 05/03/07 - 05:01

ps- Here’s a Seagrave brochure that describes these rigs: http://www.seagrave.com/MySeagrave/Conte..
Legeros - 05/03/07 - 05:06

“Concerned”, like someone said above “chrome rims, chrome nerf bars”, and I’m sure other extra crap eventually adds up. Let’s take a look back at the economical purchasing Apex did a few years ago. Apex purchased two F-350 4×4 diesel pickups (XL model), removed the old skid units from the old brush trucks and tuned them up a little. Then, placed the skids in the new pickups, added lights, striping and radios. For about $38,000 a piece we had 2 nice brush trucks that did the job. But, they have painted rims, solid black bumpers, am/fm radio, a/c and vinyl interiors. But, it’s a brush truck!! That’s all you need to get the job done, especially if the thing is going to get scratched up.
Silver - 05/03/07 - 09:59

I was thinking the same thing, Silver. I guess a good pick-up with a skid unit is a thing of the past. Those trucks did the job and could be run as First Responder trucks, if staffing allowed so. Congrats to those departments that got the new trucks, they do look sharp.

Have any of the ‘concerned taxpayers’ made their voice(s) heard to those that actually make the decisions? I guess you can’t fault a department for getting something that was paid for by the County. Those (the decision makers) are the ones who need to hear the “uproar” from a ‘concerned taxpayer.’

Mike, just out of curiosity, do you know off-hand what additional requirements these trucks meet the the NC Forest Service rigs don’t meet? I would think if anyone knew what was necessary to fight a brush fire, the NC Forestry Service would.
Luke - 05/03/07 - 11:30

All the departments that got new trucks his year are towns, the county doesn’t need to be 100% financing new apparatus for them, assist them with the purchases yes, but they should have never bought the full trucks for them (i understand the towns paid for the extras)
Why with county money... - 05/03/07 - 11:50

The current arrangement is that the County pays 100% of brush trucks and tankers for the contracted municipalities, but nothing on ladder trucks in these towns. For example, Apex and Holly Springs both just got brush trucks paid at 100%, but the County didn’t help with the purchase of their ladder trucks. I think these are the only vehicles which are not paid for jointly. I guess you could pay a portion on everything, but it would probably work out to be about the same money (or even cost the County more?).
Zeb101 - 05/03/07 - 13:39

Zeb101 – Thanks for the answer. I was just curious on what changed, since I don’t personally know all the details of the process. Congrats on the new truck, that looks sharp! I’m glad I’m not the one that has to try and keep all that diamond plate looking pretty! Stay safe!
[barrett] - 05/03/07 - 19:13

Wait a minute, regarding ladder trucks, didn’t the county partially (or fully?) pay for Wendell’s replacement ladder? They are a town?? They are NOT a town-run department, however. Is that the criteria that makes all the difference?
Legeros - 05/04/07 - 05:19

No, it’s not because they are not “town-run”. The Town of Wendell is part of the county’s fire tax district, meaning their citizens pay fire tax like everybody out in the county. Wendell’s the only town like that and it’s also why the County bought the ladder. You know there’s always an exception to every rule.
Zeb101 - 05/04/07 - 11:45

That’s one thing I’ve noticed. It seems as if a lot of people are concerned with “the look” of an apparatus versus the practical use. A pick up with a skid is ideal, and there’s nothing harmed when the first scratch gets put on it.
Guest - 05/04/07 - 11:57

It is worth noting that Wendell’s ladder, as well as all the other apparatus of the last two years purchased for non-municipal departments, are titled to the county. WFD operates it, but doesn’t own it.
Legeros - 05/04/07 - 17:55

I believe that apparatus purchased in the past 2 years were titled to the departments and insured by the departments. At least our tanker is. As for how future apparatus titling will be handled, not sure at this time, maybe someone else can advise.
McGraw (Email) - 05/05/07 - 09:05

My information is incorrect. Apparatus purchased using fire tax district funds are titled to the department. The purchasing agreement, however, states that if the department dissolves, or doesn’t need the truck, or such, ownership reverts to the county. If it is determined that the truck is to be sold, the money goes to the county.
Legeros - 05/07/07 - 17:25

So while the individual departments hold the titles, at the end of the day they belong to the County. Who will decide when these units are replaced? I would not expect a brush truck to withstand 20 years of service, but for $80,000 I would hope we’ll still see them around in 10 to 15 years. Is there a replacement schedule for them?
Concerned Taxpayer - 05/07/07 - 21:25

There’s an apparatus replacement plan that the Apparatus Committee of the Wake County Fire Commission created. It runs through 2016.
Legeros - 05/07/07 - 22:08



  
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