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GRFD unveils Quick Response Vehicles

12:01 AM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) --  The Grand Rapids Fire Department is planning to cut costs by cutting down the size of some new fire trucks.

Three "Quick Response Vehicles" joined the fleet this week.

GRFD Deputy Fire Chief Frank Verburg says QRV's are a response to future budget challenges.

He says grants and a city tax that benefit the GRFD will soon end.

"So we're going to be readily faced with how do we deploy and do the same things we used to do," he said.

The fire that ripped through the Lexicon Club in northwest Grand Rapids two weeks ago, required some of the city's $1 million dollar ladder trucks.

.Verburg says the new $200,000 QRV's, which are Ram 5500's, can respond to smaller fires, but can also assist with house fires, because they're fully loaded.

The QRV, while a step down from the big truck, is a step up from the medical response suburban, which doesn't carry water. Verburg calls it a hybrid.

"So if they're out on a medical call, and they were responding back, and they came upon a fire, for example, they have no suppression capability," he said.

GRFD Equipment Operator Mark Radius says that's why the Quick Response Vehicles will only help firefighters.

"Give guys capabilities they didn't have with the med squads," he said. "They could handle maybe a garbage can fire, and that was about it."

But the real reason behind the move is cost savings.

Verburg doesn't have an exact figure, but one savings will be on fuel. Gas mileage adds up quickly for the big engines.

Consider, of the 20,000 calls Verburg says the GRFD gets a year, nearly 70% are medical calls.

"It just makes more economical sense to operate in something smaller like this, much like this one, except we've increased our capabilities."

Verburg isn't getting rid of any of the big enginesm but the budget issues will soon affect staffing.

He says another department plan is to replace three medical response units.

And despite rumors, Verburg says they are not laying anyone off.
He says the department will not replace some people who are retiring beginning in 2015.

The three QRV's will be housed in three separate fire stations, the Division, Bridge Street, and Kalamazoo locations.

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