Comment: November 2009
Our annual apparatus edition is a major undertaking as we feature
dozens of deliveries that offer manufacturers a chance to show off
From an editorial perspective, this edition brings readers stories that showcase issues about apparatus, and this year there is a considerable concern: new Canadian and U.S. emission standards for diesel engines that reduces emissions of NOx, or nitrogen oxides.
By Laura King
Our annual apparatus edition is a major undertaking as we feature dozens of deliveries that offer manufacturers a chance to show off their products.
From an editorial perspective, this edition brings readers stories that showcase issues about apparatus, and this year there is a considerable concern: new Canadian and U.S. emission standards for diesel engines that reduces emissions of NOx, or nitrogen oxides. The concern is not with the standard, which, of course, is good for the environment. Rather, in a nutshell, the new mandatory standard means Canadian fire departments will pay a minimum of $8,000 more for trucks starting Jan. 1 because, of course, the manufacturers are passing the costs on to consumers.
None of the manufacturers we talked to in our story on page 31 seemed to know for sure the upper limit of the price increase but guestimates hovered between $15,000 and $20,000.
The nagging concern is whether this cost – which is certainly justified given the environmental benefits – will be absorbed, or even understood, by municipalities doling out fire-service budgets in the aftermath of a recession that seems to just now be affecting municipal budgets.
For the last two years, the Canadian Governmental Committee, which includes manufacturers and fire officers from across the country, has been working to make the federal government aware of the shortfall in fire service budgets that means departments from coast to coast – especially volunteer and composite departments – are driving outdated and unsafe apparatus.
The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, the Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs and Fire Fighting in Canada have all done surveys that show departments are using apparatus that are more than 15 years old and no longer meet safety standards.
The committee is working closely with FEMSA and its government affairs committee, which has successfully engaged the U.S. government, which provides grants to fire departments through the U.S. Fire Administration.
Convincing the Canadian government of the need for federal money for the fire service is a long-term project and one that needs the participation and support of fire chiefs from coast to coast. Remember this when you’re considering your next apparatus purchase and can’t afford the options your department has deemed necessary.
A quick note about our columnists: We’re excited about some new columnists who join the Fire Fighting in Canada writers’ stable in the new year and we’ll tell you more about that in the February issue. In the meantime, we’re rotating some of our columnists who have been particularly pressed for time in their day jobs. You’ll miss Dave Hodgins’ Leadership Forum column this month but it returns in 2010.