An audit of the City of Boston Fire Department recommends the city spend more than $22 million to replace 29 units in the Fire Department that are more than 15 years old.
It also recommends the department establish a 15-year replacement plan for front-line apparatus that also provides a planned expenditure over a period of years to catch up on replacements for vehicles that are more than 15 years old.
The audit surveyed target replacement cycles of fire departments around the country to come up with the 15-year replacement target. Boston’s fire apparatus has an effective cycle of 22-23 years. Of the 54 pumpers in the fleet, 20 are older than 15 years, and of the 31 ladder trucks, 9 are more than 15 years old. Auditors estimated new pumpers would cost $750,000 each while new ladder trucks would cost $850,000 each.
A newer fleet would reduce the amount of maintenance required as well as downtime.
The report also stated that the Fire Department's Transportation Division should fully utilize its Dossier fleet management information system and discontinue the practice of dispatching heavy repair mechanics to fire scenes except in cases of specific requests.
The Transportation Division has six heavy motor repair mechanics, three foremen, and one automotive technician who maintain 314 light and heavy units.
Matrix Consulting Group performed the audit, completing it July 2015. According to NCEN, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh commissioned the audit.