Everyday we count on our local fire department to provide fire and emergency services to the community, but as CBS19's Myles Henderson reports, a local department also provides a service to the environment.
When you think of a fire department you typically think of big fire trucks, loud sirens, and the brave men and women who help protect you and your neighbors. Well one local fire department is taking this one step further by helping to protect the environment. The Charlottesville Fire Department has just debuted a new hybrid vehicle to it's fleet.
Charlottesville Fire Chief, Charles Werner says, "This particular vehicle is a Ford Escape Hybrid which means that it does a combination of both gas and electric motor so that it maximizes the gas mileage within the city limits. So we create a green environment, we use less fuel as part of that overall task"
The new vehicle has all of the usual lights, sirens, and communication equipment found in traditional vehicles but poses a few new challenges. "Presently with the hybrid vehicle some of the challenges we're faced with are size. The size of the vehicle is smaller so it limits how many vehicles we can replace with this type of vehicle." "There is less space in the vehicle, less amperage, so we have to make use of the newer technology to accommodate the emergency warning and radio communication needs."
In addition to the new hybrid, the fire department is changing there larger vehicles to run on biodiesel 20. Which means that 20% of the diesel is now an alternative fuel. "The unique thing about that is it reduces the amount of overall diesel fuel we're using and it makes a cleaner burning type fuel as well." The fire department hopes to have all of there larger vehicles burning the biodiesel fuel within 6 months. Fire chief werner also plans to add additional hybrid vehicles the fleet, in applicable positions like fire inspector.
"I think its been an interesting challenge but it's well worth the effort"
The Charlottseville Fire Department is one of many across the state that is striving to become more eco-friendly.