Government Fleet Top News

Pittsburgh to Upgrade its Police, Fire, EMS, & Sanitation Fleets

December 6, 2006

PITTSBURGH, PA – This past summer, the City of Pittsburgh made a $7 million, 86-vehicle upgrade to its fleet of 1,000 cars and trucks, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The City will spend another $7 million in vehicle buys next year. While the city is paying for some upgrades with money it borrowed earlier this year, it is covering others with state aid or federal funds from the Department of Homeland Security.

A new $325,000 hazardous materials rescue City truck, and the million dollars worth of equipment it will carry, come thanks to federal funds funneled through a 13-county security task force. The vehicle will serve the entire region, handling everything from chemical spills to bioterror.

Also, the Fire Bureau is getting three decontamination trucks and a $1.1 million mobile command center, also purchased with Homeland Security grants and for use throughout the region. The command center will include top-of-the-line communications systems, video equipment, and a conference center.

Using city funds, the Emergency Medical Services Bureau just received three new ambulances and expects five more in coming months. The buys allow it to retire two ambulances that had clocked more than 160,000 miles each and had become unreliable, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It also got two Chevrolet Suburbans equipped for rough-terrain rescues, two motorcycles for moving through dense crowds, and a pair of van ambulances that can work special events like Steelers games. Most are equipped with computers that allow paramedics to file medical reports while transporting a patient.

The fleet upgrade comes as a result of out-of-date vehicles, high maintenance costs, and poor service. In fact, in August, the city auctioned off 64 of its oldest vehicles, getting a grand total of $124,690 for 35 utility vehicles, 17 police cruisers, eight trash packers, and four firetrucks. The city had 23 dump trucks that were more than 16 years old, which is twice their normal useful life. It had a dozen trash packers that were 18 to 20 years old, which is three times the industry standard for replacing them.

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