Fire trucks have captured out attention since childhood. Who of us hasn’t dreamed about driving through the streets, lights flashing and siren blaring, to the someone’s rescue! But there’s more to it than the trucks. Today more than ever they must carry people of noble spirit and intense training. Firefighters must know how to combat fire, how to provide highly skilled emergency medical aid, how to size up the potential of a dangerous chemical, and how to extricate humans from an endless series of mechanical malfunctions.A typical piece of fire apparatus must be designed to fill several roles. Generally, a new fire pumper will contain several custom items or functions designed specifically for that department. It may take a year to design and produce that truck at a cost of nearly $500,000. Most departments budget their apparatus to last for twenty years - although sometimes, changes in technology or standards mean earlier replacement. Standards are enforced by the U.S. Department of Transportation and by the Insurance Industry among others. An areal tower truck may cost as much as $800,000. Special heavy rescue apparatus will be nearly as much when filled with everything from air delivery systems to auto rescue tools to specialized chemical and collapse materials.One thing is certain: this is your tax dollar serving you and your neighbors directly. It’s your money carefully planned and proudly maintained. It’s your money well spent!