West Mecklenburg Volunteer Fire Department makes modifications to save fuel

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – With prices soaring at the pump, a Mecklenburg County fire department is changing the way it operates to save fuel.

The West Mecklenburg Volunteer Fire Department doesn’t get the big motor truck out that often and when they do, they don’t always have it running.

If the engine truck was empty, with diesel prices right now, it would cost about $240 to fill it up.

That’s about five times what it would cost to fill a small car’s tank with regular gasoline.

“We’re trying to keep costs down,” said Rodney Day, a firefighter with the West Meck Volunteer Fire Department.

If you think refueling your car is expensive, try refueling a fire truck.

“I think it’s 3-5 miles per gallon, so you’re not going too far on the trip,” Day said.

The West Mecklenburg Volunteer Fire Department paid $83 to fill about a third of its fire truck’s tank this week to nearly $5.25 a gallon of diesel.

“It’s increased significantly over the past two weeks,” Day said.

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This is fueling a change in how firefighters operate.

The truck’s engine powers everything firefighters need on the truck, from specialized equipment to truck lights and stage lights to saws and other tools.

“Anything that needs electricity should come out of that truck,” Day said.

Now that fuel prices are skyrocketing, firefighters turn off the engine once they’re out for medical and lower-priority calls.

“Normally you make things work, with the light generator those things,” Day said.

But if there is a major fire or wreckage, they will continue to business as usual and operate the truck while they are on the scene.

We need to be on the scene hopefully less time and not run out of fuel in the truck,” Day said.

They also have a van called Rescue 2.

“Probably more calls from that,” Day said.

They save the big fuel burner for big calls.

“That way we can have lights and resources and do what we need to do and get the job done and get out there,” Day said.

The fire department is reducing the number of fire truck dispatches to birthday parties and instead asking parents to bring the kids to the fire department for the holidays.

The City of Charlotte sent Queen City News the following information:

From the airport
Charlotte Douglas International Airport is served by two major fuel suppliers. We currently have sufficient supply.

We are also monitoring price increases for other items used by the airport and planning accordingly.

General Services, which manages the majority of the city’s feet

We have pumps on city property and also buy from retail outlets

We have thresholds built into our fuel contract that we use to maintain our inventory accuracy.

We have contractual fuel prices based on weekly OPIS rack prices.

We have an increasing amount of electric vehicles in the city’s fleet and this makes it easier to cope with rising gas prices.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation sent Queen City News the following statement:

Like many industries and families, the NCDOT is watching the recent increase in fuel costs closely. We are still evaluating the impact this could have on our day-to-day operations. However, high fuel costs over an extended period could impact our operating costs and require us to make difficult decisions regarding the delivery of projects and services.

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