Beaufort’s new fire vehicles more effective, efficient

Highlights of the new Beaufort Fire Department vehicles:

  • Lower purchase costs
  • Efficiency of new squads in responding to medical calls
  • Smaller, more compact and younger firefighting fleet
  • Expanded capabilities
  • Progressive thinking in how the Fire Department provides service

By taking a progressive approach to updating its fleet of firefighting vehicles, the Beaufort Fire Department saved $765,000 while improving the department’s capabilities and efficiencies, local leaders said.

Beaufort Fire Chief Sammy Negron and his department took delivery recently of a new Class A Pumper truck and two All Purpose Response Vehicles. The City of Beaufort provides fire protection services to the Town of Port Royal as part of a contract agreement between the two municipalities to work closely to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

The pumper cost $385,000 compared to traditional pumpers that cost $600,000 or more; the All Purpose Vehicles cost $145,000 each and carry chassis pumpers to battle brush fires, vehicle fires and other smaller blazes.

“We spent $675,000 on our three new vehicles, and that’s a big savings compared to what fire departments around the nation, or even other local departments, are spending on big expensive fire trucks,” Negron said.

“Switching to the two All Purpose Vehicles is especially important locally because 70 percent of our calls are related to medical issues, and these new vehicles are much more mobile and efficient on the road to get the job done,” he said. “We have a more effective department with better apparatus, and we saved $765,000.”

With City Council’s decision to use progressive and research-based apparatus purchasing practices, the Beaufort Fire Department increased its response capabilities from three first-out apparatus to five — meaning they can handle five single-apparatus responses simultaneously.

Using the All Purpose Response vehicles to respond to all medical calls in the City “results in a more efficient use of our equipment according to the type of call they are responding to, and that keeps our big pumpers off the road until they are truly needed,” Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson said.

The new All Purpose Response vehicles are responding to structure, vehicle and brush fires as well as vehicle accidents, medical calls and all other calls for service, Negron said.

The smaller All Purpose Response vehicles will take the place of the big pumpers responding to medical calls. They also bring greater maneuverability, accessibility and faster response with lower maintenance costs and less wear and tear compared to full-sized pumper trucks, Negron said.

A 2009-10 study of the Beaufort fire and police departments by the International City/County Management Association gave “best practice” kudos to both for their pro-active, prevention-based efforts.

The report on Beaufort’s fire department showed that only 1.1 percent of all calls involved actually fighting fires, but 66 percent of all calls were for medical emergencies that firefighters acted on as first responders. That’s where the new, more efficient and multi-purpose vehicles will help the department, Negron said.


The International City/County Management Association works to create excellence in local governance. The organization provides an information clearinghouse, technical assistance, training and professional development to more than 9,000 city, town and county groups throughout the world.


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