KANSAS CITY, MO – The Kansas City Fire Department is rolling out $600,000 heavy rescue trucks, all bought by the quarter-cent sales tax increase voters approved in 2001, according to the Kansas City Star. The three new vehicles replace smaller units that were pushing 10 years old, according to Rescue Division Chief Todd Ackerson.

Each truck is outfitted with state-of-the-art rescue equipment — including shallow-water rafts, three kinds of search cameras, and tripods that aid in confined-space rescues, such as through manholes. Federal Homeland Security funds paid for each truck’s complement of about $350,000 worth of equipment.

Besides water and confined-space operations, rescue companies are called upon during structure and trench collapses.

Kansas City’s heavy rescue trucks will work in tandem with similarly newly outfitted units in the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District and the Kansas City, Kan., and Olathe fire departments to form a regional heavy rescue response team, according to the Kansas City Star.

Last year, the department added about 40 replacement pumper and ladder trucks to its fleet for about $14 million. The pumpers ran about $300,000 and the ladders cost about $750,000. The funding for those trucks also came from the quarter-cent sales tax.