Dallas Fire-Rescue's fleet of 23 frontline fire trucks has nine vehicles out of service due to mechanical issues. It was forced to rent two fire trucks to keep its frontline fleet full.  -  Photo: Canva/Dallas Fire -Rescue/Government Fleet

Dallas Fire-Rescue's fleet of 23 frontline fire trucks has nine vehicles out of service due to mechanical issues. It was forced to rent two fire trucks to keep its frontline fleet full.

Photo: Canva/Dallas Fire -Rescue/Government Fleet

The City of Dallas is renting trucks to keep its fire department fleet of fire trucks -- apparatus with aerial ladders -- at full capacity. Dallas Fire-Rescue (DFR) maintains a fleet of 23 frontline fire trucks placed at stations across the city to provide emergency response.

Currently, more than one-third of the department's frontline trucks, nine of them, are out of service due to mechanical issues. Because of that, all seven of the department's reserve trucks are in service. That leaves DFR two trucks short of its full response capabilities.

The department sent a memorandum to the city council on September 16, saying it had two additional frontline trucks to return to service within two weeks, which would bring the department even on responding apparatus. The remaining seven frontline apparatus have more extended repair times.

The department recently finalized an emergency rental agreement for two trucks to cover the shortage.

While it was facing a shortage in vehicles for emergency response, the department's dispatch center was utilizing software to manage gaps in coverage in real time, by shifting resources to areas of need. The system is normally used in response to periods of high call volume, but can also be utilized to mitigate response delays due to apparatus shortages.

Push for Prioritization of Safety Vehicle Production

In August, several leaders in the Dallas Fire Department and Dallas Police Department (DPD) went before the city's public safety committee, calling for state legislation for automakers to prioritize the production of public safety vehicles.

In their presentation, public safety leaders said current build times for vehicles can range from 18 months to more than two years. Both DFR and DPD have struggled to find available chassis and vehicles for fleet replacement. For DFR, the issue has mostly been surrounding the chassis needed for ambulances. The longer it takes to secure a chassis, the longer it will take to get the vehicles, since build times are increasing.

DFR is looking to partner with other fire and police departments around Texas to seek legislation requiring vehicle manufacturers to prioritize the building of chassis specifically for public safety entities.

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