HILTON HEAD, SC – The fleet of aging water-pumping trucks Hilton Head Island in South Carolina uses to fight fires could be on its way out next year, replaced with brand new vehicles that might include cutting-edge foam-spraying technology, according to the Web site www.islandpacket.com.

The town Fire and Rescue Division is proposing purchasing or leasing 10 new pump trucks to replace its entire nine-truck fleet. The fleet now includes various vehicles that range from 15 to 20 years old, most of which used to belong to the island’s two fire districts before they merged in 1993. With a standardized fleet, firefighters will be able to operate more efficiently and effectively, according to Fire Chief Tom Fieldstead.

Three trucks recently failed to meet standards for pumping capacity during annual tests. While those trucks are being repaired and don’t pose a safety hazard, the tests highlight the need to move quickly to replace the fleet. The trucks could be on the road in 14 months at the earliest.

The town has budgeted $1.296 million for the new trucks. The best option probably will be to lease the trucks for 10 years, Fieldstead said.

One of the features of the new trucks is foam-spraying technology. The town will ask vendors to present cost proposals for outfitting the trucks with compressed foam air technology, according to www.islandpacket.com. The foam uses less water, creates less damage, and makes a burning building safer to enter for firefighters by displacing oxygen in the air without requiring crews to enter deep into a scene.