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North Whidbey Fire gets fuel efficient wheels
North Whidbey Fire and Rescue has a new ride in town.
The district bought four 2013 Toyota RAV4s as emergency medical response vehicles. So far, the district received one of the Toyotas, and will have the others within three weeks, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Marv Koorn said.
“The goal is to be more efficient and keep our costs down, and respond like we need to respond,” he said.
To purchase the vehicles, the district sold their 2004 Ford Expedition and Explorer and two of their 2001 Pierce rescue trucks. The Pierce trucks averaged three miles per gallon, and the Toyotas are estimated to get 25 miles per gallon.
About two-thirds of all calls received are medical response calls, Koorn said. Currently the department has responded to 1,603 total calls this year — about 1,249 being medical responses.
Koorn anticipates the fuel cost will go down with the new vehicles, and also because the price of fuel is decreasing.
For 2013 the district budgeted for $52,500 for fuel, and for 2014 they have $50,500.
According to AAA, the average price for regular unleaded gas in Washington state on Thursday, Nov. 14 was $3.327 per gallon and diesel was $3.975 per gallon.
The national average is currently at $3.194 per gallon for regular, which is less than the average a year ago at $3.443 per gallon.
Koorn said they’ve set themselves up well for replacing equipment.
The district also upgraded two of its 1997 engines for two 2009 models. The two engines together are estimated to be worth $500,000 to $600,000 each, but Koorn said they paid $450,000 for both.
Because some other fire districts around the country are going through hard times and can’t afford some of their engines, other departments are able to buy the vehicles at a discounted price, Koorn said.
When looking for vehicles, Koorn said they hope to find ones that are three or four years old, without a lot of wear and tear.
The new Toyotas will be at Station 21 at Cornet Bay, Station 23 on Silver Lake Road, Station 25 on Heller Road and Station 26 on Zylstra Road.