Plan needed to replace aging fire service fleet

| 27/02/2017 | 13 Comments

(CNS): Chief Fire Officer David Hails has indicated that the Cayman Islands Fire Service may need to replace all its vehicles soon, following the completion of a recent fleet evaluation by two overseas experts. The fire boss said that the average life expectancy of fire vehicles is around ten years and many of the trucks are already around that age, so a plan is needed to replace them. One truck on Cayman Brac will be replaced immediately because it is corroded as a result of being driven through sea water during Hurricane Paloma in 2008, officials said in a press release.

“Most of the vehicles are in fair condition for their age, apart from a domestic tanker located on Cayman Brac which is suffering from corrosion,” Hails said. “Apparently, this tanker was used to drive through sea water to rescue stranded members of the public during Hurricane Paloma in November 2008.”

That corroded truck has been taken out of service and a truck from Grand Cayman was sent to Cayman Brac last week. Hails said that, given the climate, it was inevitable that temperatures, humidity and the salt environment would take a toll on the vehicles.

“The fire service must follow maintenance schedules issued by the manufacturers to ensure not only the mobility of the fire trucks but also the safety of our fire officers,” Hails stated in the release. “It’s critical that we have serviceable equipment which our fire officers can rely upon and have confidence in because when putting out a fire, every second counts, and when saving lives can depend on speed of operations, every motion must have purpose.”

He noted that the average life expectancy of fire vehicles is around ten years, and with many of the vehicles in the fleet currently around that age, it is important this strategy be developed and carried out. The Fleet Replacement Strategy will identify the life expectancy of each vehicle and target replacement dates.

Hails said the assessment of the fleet, which is expected to be with the ministry this week, would help with the development of that replacement plan, but warned there were many other factors that needed to be considered alongside age, such as the outdated technology, vehicle purpose, maintenance and running costs.

Two experts from Pierce and Oshkosh Manufacturing recently travelled to all CIFS locations on all three islands to undertake the assessments earlier this month.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is absurd. These machines do bugger all over the space of a year and they are constantly cleaned and polished by firemen who also have bugger all to do most years.

  2. Anonymous says:

    oh boy, we need an expert to come from abroad to tell us everything. And the Ministry will accept it cart blanche if the right accent is used, especially that Jagan CFO who behave so frighten like dey sey a yard

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ten year old fire trucks here in Cayman are still brand new. The engines haven’t been broken in yet, kept under cover and maintained properly they should last at least 30 years.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Give us all a break. Do they think the public is stupid to believe this BS. Just another example of wasting money by civil servants. The actual working operating hours of fire equipment each year is absolutely so very low, in comparison to all other heavy equipment that fire engines should easily last in full and efficient operational condition for many decades. My own personal motor vehicle is close to 20 years old and it will easily last and function for a further 20 years. What I drive and operate in a week is more hours than the fire department would operate in a month or many months for that matter.
    Stop wasting the tax payers money.

  5. Sharkey says:

    Those fire trucks would have a longer life if they are properly maintained and serviced as required. Yes if you have to run any vehicle through salt water, you should wash it with freshwater right away , because salt has no symthy for metal.
    But it sounds like they meet the fire truck salesman.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How about we “mandatory speed test” all of our outdated fire trucks at the same time and charge a fee for spectators to come and view the demolition derby? Proceeds could be used to purchase a new fleet!

  7. Veritas says:

    I thought the Brac already had a fleet replacement process in place.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just Roll Them Over!

  9. Anonymous says:

    You mean to tell me that the CIFS felt it was necessary to pay consultants (not even locally based!) for answers they could’ve most likely found on the internet from the manufacturer?


    • Anonymous says:

      The trouble with that 12.19 is that manufacturers want to sell you new product as quickly as they can, so I would say for sure you need an independent point of view on the state of current equipment. Whilst weather and salt is an issue here, I suspect mileage is a lot lower than most fire services just because of where we are…not many manufacturers are going to factor in Cayman issues because of the small market size.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those consultants were from manufacturers.

      • Inflamed says:

        Exactly: engage a manufacturer to tell you whether you need to replace your vehicles? Very clever.
        The biggest problem with wear and tear on the fire trucks is caused by the practice of starting them up twice every shift, polishing the paint off and driving up and down the runway whenever air traffic control allows it. How can a fire truck which never goes out of the airport and has never actually been used to put out a fire have a life of only ten years?

    • hotmail says:

      These are not consults they are the two companies that manufacture fire trucks. Tell us how much miles these fire truck have on them? They are diesel engines which can run for many miles if they are properly maintained. Please tell us oh wise Fire Chief what kind of maintance operation you have? Please let us know how the Cayman Islands can spend $500,000 per truck times how many?

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