As Firefighters from around the world gather in "Beantown" to attend the wake and funeral of beloved Lt. Kevin "Two-Times" Kelley, we should all consider the events of this loss and take our "Bean Counters" to task when we get home. The economy is rough right now, but when is it not? Those in budget offices (said Bean Counters) need to understand that you can't defer maintenance and capital purchasing of apparatus and equipment. There is historically, myriad instances where faulty doors, brakes, hydraulics, etc. on "older" equipment has caused the death and injury of Firefighters. It is up to the Bean Counters, when cooking their books, to consider the fact that if the fire department has 100 rigs, it needs to budget for 100 rigs' care or replacement.
Furthermore, fire departments should rethink putting every bell and whistle on the rigs to scratch the backs of these Bean Counters, quid-pro-quo right? My department removed apparatus from the FD budget and placed them in the City's capital purchasing budget. This allowed for safer operations and a more timely replacement program; and doesn't pit staffing vs. vehicle purchasing. How many of you have to cut staffing to buy bigger Trucks?
Fire departments should also reconsider privatized "fleet maintenance" centers over traditional fire department shops. I know it does cost more, however, fire trucks are very specialized machines that require more than just routine brakes and oil changes. It is paramount that we have those fire department mechanics available and the infrastructure to fix and get these rigs back into service. This greatly prevents relying on older, spare rigs for long periods of time; and as a result, possibly preventing the loss of those who use them.