The new Fraser of Department Safety utility vehicle, expected to be in service in a few weeks, replaces a 20-year-old vehicle.

New utility vehicle purchased in Fraser, replaces 20-year-old truck

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 10, 2020


FRASER — After two decades, a new utility vehicle is now being utilized by the fire division of the Fraser Department of Public Safety.

The new vehicle, a red 2020 Ford F-250 Crew Cab, replaces a 2000 GMC Sierra 3500 that had approximately 32,000 miles. The purchase, which was budgeted by the DPS in the 2020-21 fiscal year budget, cost approximately $34,700.

That price did not include vehicle lettering, emergency lighting or a storage box — all aspects taken into account as the DPS budgeted for $40,000. Those purchases were made prior to the vehicle being in service.

A three-person committee, composed of DPS Interim Director Mike Pettyes, Mayor Mike Carnagie and Sgt. Jason Poole, was put together to review different companies who build and sell emergency units. Visits were made to other cities to discuss performance and reliability of their units.

The decision was to bid out to multiple suppliers and manufacturing companies, Carnagie said, with PL Custom Emergency Vehicles ultimately being selected. They are located in New Jersey, with Carnagie saying there was about a 10-week delay due to that business being “hit hard” by COVID-19.

In a July 1 letter to the council and City Manager Wayne O’Neal, Pettyes said the new vehicle would be used as a first responder vehicle, as well as for the daily use of the fire sergeant. This purchase puts the fleet now at 19 vehicles, which includes two Harley Davidson motorcycles and the elimination of a leased Ford Fusion previously used by the sergeant.

“Traditionally, we did not use the utility truck for fire inspections or for the day-to-day use for the fire sergeant,” Pettyes stated in his letter. “This was primarily due to our current utility (vehicle) having an exposed generator and exposed and unsecured compartments. With this new purchase, all compartments can be secured and this vehicle will be more of a multi-use vehicle.

“Further, this truck will have a crew cab, enabling this vehicle to transport up to six employees. This is of particular importance for fire training when moving numerous employees to different sites is imperative.”

He added that the 20-year-old vehicle did not have airbags — something the National Fire Protection Association and virtually all safety entities now require as standard fare for emergency response vehicles, to help ensure the safety of its passengers.

“It’s a well-maintained vehicle, but it’s just time to go,” Pettyes said July 9, citing seat rips from decades of use. “It’s a 20-year vehicle.”

Carnagie said the new rig has a new stretcher with the latest technology, helping to lift and move patients into the unit as to avoid injuries that may occur during the loading and unloading of patients.

The department also added a memorial decal of fallen firefighter David Sutton’s helmet shield, with his No. 9 badge and date of his line-of-duty death, on March 4, 2000.

Carnagie said July 30 that the old vehicle was still in the process of being sold. Due to its mileage, both he and Pettyes believe the city could sell it.

“If someone needs a work truck, it’s fabulous because it’s a diesel,” Carnagie said.

He said city officials are still looking at other vehicles in the fleet that could be sold off, or adapt vehicles so they can be shared by different department heads and code enforcement officials.

“It all depends on the wants and needs and how we need it. … DPS has always kept the vehicles up to good shape,” he said. “A lot of the vehicles just get beat to death for what they’re used for.”

Carnagie said the new vehicle should be in service the next few weeks.