Baltimore fire department unveils 3 new fire trucks

The new additions are equipped with advanced software and features to better aid firefighters

By Carrie Wells
The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — Baltimore officials unveiled three new fire trucks on Monday that can help respond to hazardous materials and refill the oxygen tanks of fire department divers.

The hazmat and two Airflex trucks cost nearly $1.8 million combined. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said at a news conference that officials had recently started financing new vehicles in a way that would allow them to save $1 million a year.

"It is not a surprise to anyone here that aging equipment requires more resources to maintain," Rawlings-Blake said. "That's why we've worked so hard with creating fleet management that allows us to turn over the fleet to cut down on excessive maintenance costs."

The hazmat truck has additional space and computers that will allow the fire department to set up a mobile command center in case of a hazardous materials situation. The vehicle, which will be housed at the city's Steadman station at the base of the Bromo Seltzer Tower, also has sensors that will allow firefighters to assess what type of hazardous material is present before leaving the vehicle.

The Airflex trucks can refill the oxygen tanks of fire department divers and have pullout canopies to give firefighters shade to rest in. One of the trucks will be housed at the Steadman station, while the other will be housed at the city's Old Town Mall station.

"The unfortunate occurrence of a biological hazardous material or terrorist attack could happen at any time," said Mark Wagner, the assistant chief of the fire department. "But the ability to adequately respond and mitigate such incidents comes from having the proper training and the proper equipment."

Copyright 2016 The Baltimore Sun

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