EPA Standards Prevent Fire Stations From Getting DoD Surplus Vehicles

LITTLE ROCK, AR- Arkansans know that fires can get out of control in a hurry, and many people have peace of mind knowing local fire departments are there to protect them. However, many fire departments in Arkansas and beyond are no longer receiving federal help they've come to rely on.

Military style vehicles fire stations have received from the Department of Defense no longer meet EPA standards. Fire Officials tell us those EPA standards change and get more strict every couple of years. As a result, millions of dollars of equipment have been taken out of service.

Two of the vehicles the Sheridan Fire Department uses, came from the DoD.

"It allows them to get a vehicle either for a nominal fee or free," says Tim Stuckey, Sheridan Fire Chief.

Now, Fire Chiefs like Time Stuckey say they're frustrated after learning these vehicles are instead, being destroyed.

"It is a waste. That's a lot of money going you know that the fire departments can utilize those vehicles for our tax dollars that are being crushed and destroyed," says Stuckey.

It's no secret rural fire departments like Sheridan are strapped for cash, that's why they rely on the DoD's program to convert military vehicles into tankers, brush trucks, and other equipment to battle large fires.

"It's grown fire services. It's one of the reasons fire service in Arkansas has grown in the past many years," says Stuckey.

With that growth now on hold, fire departments are getting frustrated.

"Deep concern that this will cripple the ability of the fire departments to do their job at least in rural Arkansas," he says.

In the long term, Stuckey says this could make your home less safe, "If this continues where they can't get vehicles, I could see how his could impact the safety of Arkansas."

Stuckey says a partial of the program was reinstated, yet it's unclear what it all entails. On Thursday, the Arkansas Forestry Commission asked the Arkansas House and Senate to send a letter to Washington to keep the programs the same and not change it. The legislature voted to do that.

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