The Mission Fire Department recently received a retired military vehicle and its title to add to its fleet through Texas A&M Forest Service as part of the Department of Defense Firefighter Property Program.
Fire Chief Rene Lopez said the military vehicle will be used as a brush truck.
“This program along with other TFS grant opportunities are excellent help to departments needing vehicles and equipment,” Lopez said. “They have been helpful to our large department and smaller departments find it even more valuable.”
The addition of a 1,000-gallon tank on the vehicle expands the department’s fire suppression capabilities and its status as a high profile vehicle that is raised significantly off the ground renders it a sufficient asset when executing flood evacuations.
“The military vehicle’s height makes it an excellent truck for rough terrain,” Lopez said. “We currently have two other off road vehicles in our fleet, but the military vehicle can go further than the others because it has six-wheel drive as opposed to four.”
A 150-gallons per minute pump, a one-inch hard line and a fresh coat of red paint were also added to enable the military vehicle to be converted into a firefighting machine.
Recipients of this excess property are required to convert the vehicle into a service-ready unit within 180 days of acquisition.
The DoD Firefighter Property Program, a program managed nationwide by the USDA Forest Service, provides excess military equipment to fire departments and emergency service providers. Launched in Texas in 2005, this program has released more than 350 retired military trucks to VFDs across the state to help them better protect lives and property.
According to Regional Fire Coordinator Travis Pecht, the Rio Grande Valley is one of the fastest growing areas in the state of Texas and a booming trade with Mexico.
“This truck gives Mission Fire Department, whose service area is 34 square miles with a population of 125,000 citizens, a multi-purpose vehicle which can respond out into the county to fight wildfires, or rescue people from flooded neighborhoods,” Pecht said.