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Wichita Fire Dept. Unveils New Fire Engine Fleet, New Firefighters

Carla Eckels

The Wichita Fire Department unveiled nine new fire engines and a new ladder truck -- replacing part of an aging fleet. The department also has hired 17 new firefighters. KMUW's Carla Eckels has more...

Fire Marshal Brad Crisp says the new equipment will help improve service and enhance safety. He says the new engines look slightly different.

"They've got a red with a black top which is going to actually make them more visible at night so safer as far as visibility goes," he says. "They have better driver vision capabilities the windshields are much wider and our drivers are going to be able to observe what's coming in traffic and while we're going in route to alarms. They have lower hose beds which we anticipate reduction in injuries of firefighters having to pull hose by having to step up on the tailboard and I think that is going to be a great advantage."

Crisp says the new fire engines also have jaws of life units installed, which will let them respond to serious accidents sooner. Along with equipment, the department added 17 new fire recruits.

"So they're the newest members of Wichita's bravest," he says. "They came to us -- 6 of them anyway, through a federal SAFER grant which is Staffing Apparatus For Emergency Response Grant. We we're allowed to hire 6 we gave preference for military veterans which we were able to hire 4 military veterans and this grant really allows us to fill 6 firefighter vacancies that we lost last year."

The new firefighters are expected to complete training by fall.