Agenda Index City of Vancouver


Date: February 13, 1998

Author/Local: R. Chan /8-7792

CC File No. 3651

TO: Vancouver City Council

FROM: General Manager of Fire & Rescue Services

SUBJECT: Fire Department Life Support Unit Trucks


THAT Council increase the funding by $240,000 to $1,760,000 from the Plant Account for the purchase of eight (8) Life Support Unit Trucks.


Council approves expenditures from Reserves, including the Truck Plant Account.


The Tri Data Corporation did a comprehensive report on our department in 1996 looking at the overall use of our resources. They made several recommendations in areas to improve and one in particular was the deployment of our apparatus and how we could achieve a better use of our emergency apparatus for medical calls. Option six of their recommendations was to purchase eight Life Support Units that would be used to respond to medical incidents which would save having to use the larger apparatus as we do now.

Our original concept for a Life Support Unit was based on information from the Tri Data report which identified a light duty vehicle similar to a modular ambulance. It was designed primarily for medical responses and to carry two or three personnel and a limited amount of equipment. The estimate for this type of vehicle, equipment, and compartments to carry all necessary equipment was $130,000. Because the vehicle is light duty, we proposed replacing the chassis only at seven (7) year intervals at a cost of approximately $70,000. In fourteen (14) years this would work out at $200,000 per unit or $1.6 million for eight units. For comparative purposes, the present value of this proposal is $1.52 million.

A year later when the apparatus committee met to come up with a design for the new LSU we had new information and had time to evaluate our original concept of a light duty LSU. It was concluded that we should be looking at a medium duty rescue unit that could carry a variety of tools andequipment that would support medical, rescue and fire. Different types of vehicles were brought in and demonstrated. A Ford F350 - four door and a Freightliner FL50 - four door compared side by side and evaluated. The consensus was unanimous that the lighter Ford was inadequate for the revised requirements and that a chassis similar to the Freightliner FL50 was necessary.

From the operational side the committee felt that the Ford cab was not adequate in size for firefighters in full turnout clothing and would not accommodate all necessary equipment in the small rear compartments. They also preferred a larger vehicle for safety reasons when responding under emergency conditions with adequate GVW to carry all necessary equipment. The Freightliner was also very maneuverable as tested by several members in the downtown streets and alleys.

From a maintenance point, the Freightliner will stand up better as it is built for heavy duty service. This heavy duty chassis will provide savings in brakes, suspension and tires.

Cost for the total package including taxes using a Freightliner FL50 is estimated at $220,000. This is a vehicle that would last approximately 14 years. A mobile radio and a portable radio are included in the estimate.

Estimated Costs:

Chassis - 62,000

Rear body (materials and labour) -118,000

Equipment - 5,000

Radios (1 mobile + 1 portable) - 5,800

$190,800 + taxes and outfitting = $220,000

The cost to purchase eight LSU's with a chassis similar to a Freightliner FL50 would be $220,000 x 8 = $1,760,000. The cost of this proposal is $240,000 more than the present value estimate of the original proposal resulting in increased equipment rental costs of $25,000 per year. The extra cost for the larger, better equipped truck will result in enhanced fire and rescue capability.

Accordingly, we RECOMMEND:

-that the Plant Account funding for the eight Life Support Units be increased by $240,000 to $1,760,000 and;

-that the additional equipment rental of $25,000 be added to 1999 and subsequent years of VF&RS operating budget.

* * * * *

See Page

Comments or questions? You can send us email.
[City Homepage] [Get In Touch]

(c) 1997 City of Vancouver