Tipp City fire chief discusses costs of equipment

TIPP CITY — This week, Tipp City Fire Chief Cameron Haller went over the equipment replacement schedule and industry standards for the fire and EMS department, explaining why they should be considered operating costs instead of capital improvements.

Haller said the average length of time for a firefighter’s gear to need to be replaced is every 10 years, undergoing an annual inspection every year.

Haller said, in regard to the firefighter’s clothing gear, the cost for the pants is $1,100; the cost for the coat is $1,600; and the cost of the helmet and boots is $4,000 per set.

“We have about 32 firefighters currently,” Haller said.

Haller said a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for a firefighter costs about $5,200, saying their inventory is at 24 and they are requesting to go up to 27.

“The bottles themselves cost about $1,000 per bottle,” Haller said.

Fire hoses also typically need replaced every 20 years, and they cost approximately $990 per section. Haller said a full hose could cost up to $12,000.

“We test hoses annually,” Haller said.

He said the Tipp City Fire Department tests their hoses each year by laying them out behind the Tippecanoe Middle School and testing them with a typical pressure of 200 pounds.

“If it passes, we can use it for another year,” Haller said.

For the fire and EMS vehicles, Haller said the annual preventative maintenance is $950 per ambulance and approximately $900 for the fire apparatus.

“Repairs, if there are any, are on top of that,” Haller said.

For their other equipment, their preventative maintenance contracts and software updates add up to approximately $14,000 a year.

Haller explained they are planning to move reoccurring costs like these from the capital improvement budget to the operating budget so they are not relying on capital improvement funds.

“We have to go out and perform our jobs,” Haller said. “It behooves us to have it in the operational budget.”