The Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation has ignited a new initiative, launching a $3M fundraising campaign to transition to an electric fleet. As part of the "Fleet Forward" campaign, the nonprofit is moving to electrify Atlanta's firefighting capabilities with its first electric fire engine and two rapid response vehicles. This ambitious move aims to update the city's aging fleet, which has already forced three fire stations to temporarily shut down due to equipment shortages.
Joining forces for a greener future, Norfolk Southern tossed in the first kindling for the campaign with a generous $500,000 donation. "The EV, of course, uses about 50 percent less in terms of maintenance cost," AFRF CEO Taos Wynn told Atlanta News First, highlighting not just cost reductions but also the efficiency of the electric vehicles. Atlanta Fire Chief Roderick Smith praised the city's move toward leading-edge fire and emergency services.
Last month, the need for an updated fleet prompted the Atlanta City Council to approve spending over $18 million on new firefighting equipment. However, despite the investment, supply chain snags could delay the deployment of the new gear for up to two years. Electric vehicles, according to Wynn in his interview with FOX 5 Atlanta, could prove to be a quicker solution.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, seeing the forest for the trees, acknowledged the city can't tackle climate change alone. "It takes partnerships like this to achieve our shared goal of a resilient and sustainable Atlanta," he said, as noted by Atlanta News First. Addressing the dire conditions of the fire fleet, Atlanta Professional Firefighters Union president Nate Bailey lamented in October that even police have newer equipment while firefighters are just looking for "a decent fire truck so they can honorably do their job."
The Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation's efforts could culminate as soon as next summer.