- Associated Press - Monday, April 8, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - Central Louisiana’s largest city will buy two SUVs to handle fire department medical calls, trying to cut wear and tear on much more expensive fire trucks.

Local news outlets report Mayor Jeff Hall announced the plan Friday, calling it a pilot program.

Hall say the city is trying to make its fire trucks last longer. The big vehicles can cost between $500,000 and $700,000. However, about 80% of all calls taken by crews are for medical emergencies, meaning firefighters don’t need hoses most of the time. Hall says only one or two paramedics, not the standard four firefighters, will respond in the SUVs.

The SUVs will debut this fall. They won’t replace traditional ambulances, only supplement them.

If the vehicles perform well, Hall says the city will consider buying more.

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