HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Hutchinson Fire Chief Steven Beer notes that supply chain issues are even slowing the purchase of fire equipment where the money has already been approved.
"Everything, not just in the fire service, but in general, we're looking," Beer said. "We cannot even buy a chassis, a Freightliner commercial chassis right now. 2022s are gone, 2023s are going to be hard to get. Even building a fire truck. They are talking 28 months to build a fire truck. A few years ago, it took 6 to 9 months."
Even consumables are hard to get.
"You really have to start planning," Beer said. "As simple a thing as tires on the fire trucks, we are preordering, because it takes nine months to get some of the tires. Nine months to a year to get just some of the tires we need for our fire trucks. We really are front loading in our budget, more than we ever have."
It's not the same as it was anytime recently.
"It's just a different philosophy now," Beer said. "A different approach than I've ever seen in my 34-year career."
The Hutchinson City Council and the Board of County Commissioners approved spending $880,000 on three brush trucks, new personal protective gear and bringing existing brush trucks up to current standards this past March.