What Should You Know Before Buying A Used Fire Truck?

Buying something used can come with a stigma attached. Used items can be perceived as dysfunctional, outdated or not worth investing in. At Jon’s Mid America, we know this isn’t the case, especially when it comes to fire apparatus.

Used fire apparatus are a great choice for a department that needs something new-to-them on a limited budget. Used apparatus dealers and brokers agree that the market for used fire trucks is remaining steady, if not increasing, due to the amount of fire departments choosing to buy used.

Before you make this purchase, though, there are some questions you should take into consideration. Keep reading to find out what you should ask yourself before making a used fire truck purchase.

What are your cost limitations?

If you’re contemplating buying used, you might be dealing with a constrained budget. New apparatus are expensive, with an average cost in the hundred-thousands. Some more complex apparatus like aerials can go for over a million dollars. With prices like these, you cannot afford to make a mistake while purchasing.

Buying a used fire truck will inevitably be the cheaper choice. While new fire trucks come with lots of bells and whistles, take a step back and consider what you actually need for your department to do their job. While having the latest and greatest technology is nice, always prioritize your department’s needs before their wants.  

Keep in mind that no truck lasts forever and will have to be replaced at some point. Even a new fire truck starts to break down eventually. No need to worry – preventive maintenance is the key to prolonging the life of any apparatus. If taken care of, used apparatus can be kept and utilized for years to come.

What kind of apparatus do you need?

Before making your purchase, consider where the gap is in your department. You likely began the apparatus purchasing process due to needing increased firefighting capabilities, but what specifically do you need to be better?

You might ask some of these questions while deciding the kind of used fire apparatus you need:

  • What kinds of fires do you fight? Do you need more water storage on the scene of a fire, or do you need to reach higher areas for structural fires or rescues? The kinds of fires you fight play a huge role in the kind of apparatus you’ll need. Whether it’s a pumper or a quint, be sure to acknowledge what your biggest threat is when a fire arrives.
  • What does your department respond to most? Being first responders, you may be arriving to the scene of car crashes or medical emergencies more than you see actual fires. Though your ability to fight a fire should always be taken into consideration, you may choose an apparatus that takes into account your ability to respond quickly to these disasters.
  • Is your department urban or rural? Urban and rural departments come with vastly different needs. For instance, rural roads may mean choosing a smaller apparatus that can fit without driving other cars off the streets. Purchasing a fire apparatus requires thinking about more than the fires you fight, but also how that apparatus will fit into your department and city.
  • Will it require new training? If this is an apparatus your department hasn’t encountered before, it will be necessary to take time to learn how to properly use it. If possible, you may consider getting an apparatus that is similar or the same as an older one, removing some of the time that would otherwise be spent training.

Are you looking into buying a used fire truck? Give us a call at Jon’s Mid America.

Our fire truck experts can set you up with the perfect apparatus for your department that fits both your budget and your needs.

firefighter putting out fire at Dollar Tree Jon's Mid-America Fire ApparatusBlue and Yellow Fire Hoses Jon’s Mid-America Fire Apparatus