Saving taxpayer money by refurbishing fire trucks
By Joe Bartels, Reporter
“Fire departments need reliable trucks and ambulances to get to life-and-death situations.
While budgets have been slashed during the Great Recession, the desperate calls for help haven’t stopped.
Some departments in the Las Vegas valley have a difficult decision to make whether to buy new expensive trucks or rehab their aging fleets.
When you step inside Stu Reyburn’s shop, you’ll notice everything is a little bit bigger, bigger engines, bigger tires and bigger trucks.
“These trucks will be in here between tear down and reassembly. They’ll be in here for 10 weeks,” Reyburn said.
Reyburn’s family-run business, Firetrucks Unlimited, transforms older emergency vehicles to keep on the road longer.
“This was a former city of Henderson truck, and this is the second truck going to Pahrump,” Reyburn said.
This isn’t just a paint job. It is a total overhaul.
“That is not a refurbishment. You actually have to go through the truck, mechanically. You have to go through the drive train. You have to go through the fire system,” Reyburn said.
Reyburn says after 9/11, the government made millions of dollars available to boost the nation’s response to terror threats.
Fire departments big and small bought new fire trucks and vehicles, but as the years passed, the money dwindled.
The trucks have aged, and now more than a decade later, the trucks need replacing but the money isn’t there.
Not every truck can be overhauled.
“If the fire truck is too old, or if it is not meeting current NFPA requirements,” Reyburn said.
NFPA or National Fire Protection Agency has age and safety requirements.
North Las Vegas grappled with the idea of refurbishing one of its trucks. It would have saved a quarter million dollars.
The city decided against it because of worries of warranties and how much longer the truck would last.
For some departments refurbishments make sense.
“We simply could not afford to go out and buy new apparatus even with the creative financing that is associated with those. We just couldn’t swing it with the current financial situation in the town,” Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Lewis said.
Firetrucks Unlimited has overhauled more than 150 emergency vehicles since they opened seven years ago. They estimate they have saved tax payers $30 million.”