Dallas First Responders Face Vehicle Shortage

Dallas First Responders Face Shortage of Vehicles
Dallas Police Car | Image by WFAA

Dallas Fire-Rescue said it has experienced a shortage of emergency vehicles due to delays from manufacturers.

Emergency responders from Dallas Fire-Rescue told city council members on August 8 that it is taking up to two-and-a-half years to acquire emergency vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances. That is how long fire department leaders said it would take manufacturers to fulfill orders for emergency vehicles.

Dallas Fire Association President Jim McDade explained that orders for emergency vehicles kept rolling in even when production lines for emergency vehicles shut down during the pandemic.

“Fires didn’t stop. Medical emergencies didn’t stop,” he said.

The backlog of emergency vehicles could mean potential harm for Dallas residents. However, McDade said Dallas is not the only city affected by the backlog of emergency vehicles.

“This is not just a Dallas issue. It’s going to affect every municipality around Texas and the nation unless we prioritize emergency response vehicles,” he said.

McDade claimed that manufacturers of emergency vehicles focus on making pickups for civilians to buy because it is more profitable than making vehicles for municipalities.

Hoping for a policy-based solution, Dallas Fire-Rescue wants legislators to prioritize emergency vehicles in the next legislative session.

The fire department is not the only one left with a need for vehicles. As prior reported by The Dallas Express, the Dallas Police Department is facing challenges regarding its fleet of squad cars, including chip shortages and serviceability issues.

Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata told the city council that the department has new vehicles, but those units cannot be used.

“Dozens of cars right now are sitting there because we don’t have the chips for the computers in the car,” Mata said, “and we can’t run the cars without the computers.”

To make matters worse, many of the operable vehicles have seen over 100,000 miles of hard use. Mata stated that the wheels of some squad cars sometimes fall off as a result of being continually and sometimes aggressively driven.

The association president said he fears that the shortage of usable vehicles could pose a challenge for police response times and, in turn, impact community safety. He added that the situation poses a risk for officers as most Dallas police officers who have died in the line of duty died in vehicle accidents.

“If we have a vehicle not well maintained or with structural flaws, the probability an officer will be injured in a crash due to faulty equipment increases,” he said.

Mata hopes the department can eventually expand its fleet enough to allow officers to even drive cars home. He said DPD cars are currently driven by every shift of officers, 24 hours a day.

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