Memphis Firefighters Worry About New Trucks

June 20, 2012

Memphis, Tenn., firefighters say they’re concerned that a realignment plan that includes decommissioning four ladder trucks and replacing them with two multi-functional trucks will threaten public safety.

The Commercial Appeal reports that the dispute involves two so-called “quint” fire trucks that combine five functions into one. The quints are both a ladder truck and a pumper, and they have fire hoses, aerial devices and a water tank.

The Memphis Fire department is decommissioning four ladder trucks, moving four others and adding two quints.

Fire Director Alvin Benson says the quints will bolster the reserve fleet while reducing dispatch and response times.

But some firefighters say decommissioning ladder trucks and adding quints will weaken fire response. The St. Louis Fire Department issued a letter in February, saying it scrapped its quints to reduce costs and improve response efficiency.

Firefighters also say the quints – which cost more than $800,000 each – are heavy and have restricted maneuverability.

“We’re going to have to deal with it; the quints are here,” said Larry Anthony, president of the Memphis Fire Fighters Association. “But this is about people’s safety.”

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