Purchasing a fire truck for a rural fire department has its own unique challenges. You may only have a few apparatus in your fleet, so adding a new truck may be a monumental change to your department. You need to be able to choose an apparatus that fills the needs of your service area while fitting your rural firefighting constraints.
To help you keep track of the many considerations you have to assess, we’ve listed everything you need to know before you make your next rural fire apparatus purchase.
Before purchasing a rural fire apparatus
The process of purchasing an apparatus doesn’t occur overnight. In fact, depending on the kind of truck you want to buy, selecting and purchasing a truck can take a year or more. One of your first steps should be to form an apparatus purchasing committee. This committee should be made up of those who will be directly impacted by the purchase of a new apparatus, including firefighters, fire chiefs, insurance specialists, and community members. Depending on your department, you may choose to include other important persons as well.
The job of your purchasing committee is to compile the needs of your department to help you choose what kind of apparatus to buy. Your committee should answer these questions:
- What specific kind of apparatus would best suit your department?
- Would a multi-use apparatus work better than a single-use apparatus?
- Where will you be getting the money for this apparatus? How much money is available to buy it?
- When will there be money in the budget for a new apparatus?
- Are there restrictions on the size of the apparatus due to small roads or a small fire station?
- How often will you be using this apparatus?
New vs. used rural fire trucks
When you have an idea of your ideal specifications you can begin to seek out sellers of fire apparatus. Outside of your specs, however, you have another choice to make: do you want a new or used fire apparatus?
New fire apparatus may be better if:
- You have very specific requirements for your apparatus and need customizations
- You’re willing to make a long term investment
- You like to have all of the latest cutting-edge technology on your apparatus
Alternately, used fire apparatus may be preferred if:
- You’re working with a limited budget
- You don’t need endless extra features
- Your department can learn to work with all kinds of apparatus
If you’re undecided, consider seeking out a seller that has both new and used fire trucks. This will offer you the opportunity to try out either kind of apparatus and determine which would be better for your department. Once you select a truck, you can begin to discuss your financing options and how long it will be until you get your fire apparatus.