BILLINGS, Mont. - The Billings Fire Department is getting three new fire trucks within the next few weeks. The new pumper trucks will replace existing trucks.
"Currently, we're facing, along with everybody else in the nation, a shortage of equipment, Billings Fire Department Engineer Cameron Abell said. "So, we ordered equipment a while back and we're looking at 10 weeks before we get those in. So, what's probably going to happen is we'll have a change-over day where the old pumper and new pumper sit side by side and we move stuff over as fast as we can so it's down for a very minimal amount of time depending on how the supply chain issues work out."
Abell said the trucks are custom-made according to the needs of the fire department. The entire process takes about two years.
One of the new pumper trucks costs $680,000. Abell said they received a discount on the third truck with this order.
He also said the number of calls coming into the fire department increases every year.
"Every year, we probably on average increase 700- 800 calls a year from the previous year," he said. "We're looking at maybe 19,000 calls this year up from 18,000 calls last year. I don't know the final numbers. We'll see."
Abell said these new fire trucks were paid for with money already in the budget. The public safety mill levy money won't be available until July 2022. Abell said they are working on using that money to create mobile response units and hire more firefighters.