BALTIMORE - When someone calls 911 for an emergency, the person needs medics, firefighters or police at the scene immediately.
Like everything else, fire trucks and police cars grow old and become less reliable through the years. But in Baltimore, you may start seeing new emergency vehicles racing around town very soon.
Baltimore's aging vehicle fleet is getting a sleek new look.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake showed off some examples today, including a new fire truck, medic unit and support vehicles.
"When you have engines and ladder trucks 15,19,20,30 years old, a lot of these organizations the warranties don't cover them anymore and some of these organizations don't even make the parts for them,” Baltimore City Fire Department Chief Niles Ford said.
The city's fleet renewal program is designed to replace 1,200 vehicles over 10 years. This year the fire department will get four trucks, four engines and four medic units. The police department is slated to get 80 news cars.
"The reforms and the programs reach multiple agencies and will ultimately save the tax payers of Baltimore City $128 million over the next 10 years,” Rawlings-Blake said.
The city will do this by taking advantage of some creative financing. The vehicles will be leased, not purchased, and maintenance will be covered by manufacturers’ warranties. Also on the website of the fire trucks manufacturer, Pierce, flex financing is available and the apparatus can be purchased for $1 after the last lease payment is made
"There comes a point of diminished returns on repairing and maintaining older apparatus where it really just makes more sense anyway not just from a safety standpoint but at the end of the day from a financial standpoint to go ahead replace and upgrade equipment,” Ford said.
The units to be replaced will go into reserve roles or used at training facilities.