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Calhoun Fire Department to implement Rapid Response Vehicle

Starting on Monday November 19, 2018 you will begin to see this vehicle responding to Emergency Medical Calls (EMS) within the City limits of Calhoun. The Calhoun Fire department, like most in the country, have seen the number of EMS calls increase tremendously over the past several years. So far this year the department has responded to 1,194 EMS calls which is approximately 69% of its total calls. In 2017 the department responded to 1506 EMS calls which represented 66% of all calls. Expectations are for these numbers to continue increasing. As a result the cost for fuel and maintenance for the fire engines have increased substantially. Another issue is the decreased life expectance of the Fire Engines which cost an average of $500,000 each.

The department realized they needed a more economical way to respond to these calls and provide the same level of public safety. After careful research along with speaking with other departments for ideas, it became clear that this was a problem for almost all departments across the country. We learned that many departments have started using SUV's, Pickup trucks and Mini Pumpers to respond in place of a Fire Engine on EMS calls. These vehicles are faster, smaller, lighter and more maneuverable. They get much better gas mileage and are less expensive to maintain. These vehicles are also safer for firefighters and the public in case of an accident.

Recently on Channel 2 news they did a segment about DeKalb County Fire Department getting new rapid response vehicles. They had the same problem we had and they purchased 5 new F-350 Ford pickup trucks with camper shells to respond to EMS calls instead of using fire engines. It just so happen we also had a Ford F-350 with a camper shell. We reached out to DeKalb County and they invited us to come look at the vehicle and discuss how they were being used. While our truck is a few years older we realized we could still equip it similar to DeKalb’s with very little expense. We have been working on the truck for a few weeks and it’s now ready to start answering calls.