Lots of people try to save money with a “do-it-yourself” approach to home repair and maintenance. Usually, it’s their own money they are trying to save. At Consolidated Fire District No. 2, DIY has been saving someone else’s money: ours (as in taxpayers).
Battalion Chief Jeff Scott says that approach paid off big recently when the huge fans in the high truck bays that are used to reduce heating and cooling costs began to fail after a few years of operation – eight months after the warranty expired. The company said they couldn’t fix them. The cost would be in the thousands for replacements.
Firefighter Angus Duff stepped up and took a crack at the job. After sleuthing through distributorships and Italian gear companies, he found the parts for the fans at two stations. Problem solved and savings of at least $4,000 and maybe as much as $7,500.
“We’ve got so many people here with so many skill sets that would fit right in (to repairs and maintenance),” Scott says. It is cheaper to pay an overtime rate to firefighters off shift than to hire out many of the jobs. “Plus we know we get a quality job.”
People take care of their houses. “This is our house,” Duff says. But it’s not just the house, it’s the trucks as well. Duff, with a mechanical background, has been doing repairs on the trucks for a decade. It is not only the money savings that is important for that work, it’s the time the truck is gone. A truck can be out of service for two days just to get it to the shop and back, Duff says.
Scott says the department now has a building and facilities maintenance group that can be assigned repairs and maintenance in a more structured way to save dollars every place possible.