Philadelphia firefighters are calling on city and state officials for a safety inspection of their equipment. The call follows a fire touched off by a medic unit last week that damaged an Old City firehouse.
Medic Unit 44b caught fire Friday, destroying the vehicle and damaging the station at Fourth and Arch streets where it was stored.
The city is not keeping its firefighting and rescue equipment in top condition, said Joe Schulle, who leads the International Association of Firefighters and Paramedics Local 22.
“The expected maximum run total for an ambulance in the United States should be approximately 3,000 runs,” he said Tuesday. “The average responses in Philadelphia is 5,000 runs. Our top medic units in Philadelphia have done 8,000 runs.”
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers admits some of the equipment is old, but said it is well maintained.
“We look at the guidelines, we go by the guidelines, we understand their concerns,” he said. “We are in the process of replacing medic units, engines, ladders.”
With only so much city money to go around, Ayers said some of the equipment in the fleet is older than he would like.
“I would like to have a fleet of all new vehicles and a fleet where we have nothing older than 10 years, even in our reserves, but it takes some time to get to that level and to that point,” he said. “But that is a goal that we are pursuing.”