Chicago Suburb Testing New Fire Engines and Service Plans

April 25, 2017

The fire department in west suburban Naperville, Illinois, is testing two new fire engines and two new service plans to determine which configuration best serves their needs for the next 10 years.

The Daily Herald Newspaper reports the $1.4 million test will give the department data to compare which engine withstands the rigors of firefighting and which maintenance service meets the expectations of the department.

The Naperville Fire Department engines currently are maintained by the city's public works fleet division, but the number of certified fire engine technicians has dropped 50 percent to only 3 mechanics in the past 4 years. Outsourcing the maintenance work is expected to cut the equipment's downtime while waiting to be repaired by the public works shop.

Naperville will compare a Pierce fire engine model that has been used by the department in the past  with a $559,308 Pierce E-1 pumper model with similar specs.

The two maintenance service providers being evaluated are Global Emergency Products of America and Fire Service of Naperville.  Global Emergency is located in nearby Aurora, Illinois and has estimated service for the engine will cost $172,000 for the next ten years. Fire Service of Naperville estimates servicing the E-One will cost about $134,000 for ten years.

Naperville had earlier planned to begin leasing fire engines but instead chose to stay with its ownership plans. "The outright purchase of vehicles continues to be the best option for us financially," Finance Director Rachel Mayer said, adding it will save an estimated $240,000 per engine throughout the life of the vehicle.

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said he's "generally supportive" of outsourcing fire engine maintenance, especially because it could take years for city mechanics to build up the certifications needed to work on complex emergency vehicles.