West Pierce Fire & Rescue is committed to doing its part to reduce its carbon footprint and increase cost efficiencies. In honor of Earth Day, here are just some of the ways WPFR has moved toward long-term solutions.
Over the past four years, WPFR has focused on replacing older vehicles with hybrid models. Currently, WPFR has 11 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in its fleet in order to reduce fuel costs and environmental impacts. These vehicles are being used as staff vehicles, while more fuel-efficient options are being researched for response vehicles as they become available. Replacing older SUVs with these new hybrid vehicles have resulted in a 90% reduction in fuel costs.
In addition, the District’s fleet maintenance building is heated by using a device that burns used motor oil. In that past, when the oil was changed in a vehicle, the District paid to have it removed and disposed of. Now the used oil can be recycled and used to heat the facility with clean burning fuel.
In January of this year, a new type of response vehicle was established to respond to minor emergencies that don’t require a fire engine. A Squad is a standard sized pickup staffed with two people and all the equipment they need to manage a variety of non-emergent incidents. By dispatching a Squad in place of a ladder company, WPFR’s environmental footprint is greatly reduced, considering a ladder truck achieves only 2-3 miles to the gallon.
Hydration is an essential part to a healthy lifestyle and WPFR is dedicated to the wellness of its employees. Each year, nearly 6,500 bottles of water or sports drinks were purchased. These drinks are supplied to keep firefighters hydrated on fire scenes and while performing drills on the training ground.
In 2020, WPFR purchased a reusable water bottle for each employee. The intent was to promote drinking enough water, reduce the cost associated with purchasing disposable bottles, and reduce the amount of waste they create. Many employees have seen an increase in their daily water intake thanks to having these bottles readily available to them throughout their work day.
WPFR’s wellness committee members continue to focus on the health and safety of employees and ultimately, the community. By implementing these steps so far, the impact is measurable. Moving forward, WPFR will continue to be committed to creating cost efficiencies and a more sustainable environment.