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— Starting early this week, all of the county’s fire engines will be evaluated as the county develops a plan for purchasing new engines, said Marshal Watson, director of the Department of Emergency Management.

After reading a newspaper report about the county’s desire to have an independent analysis of all of the fire equipment in the county, David Bragg of Lowell offered to provide the assessment for free.

Bragg, a former fleet manager for Little Rock and Fayetteville, is prepared to begin meetingwith county fire chiefs this week and hopes to provide county officials with the assessment by the end of the year.

“This is just an opportunity to give back to Benton County and to try to share some of my expertise. Hopefully there will be more opportunities in the future,” Bragg said.

As a part of the project, Bragg will assign a point value to each of the county’s fire engines and ranking each one by how much more use he county can expect to get from each vehicle, Watson said.

County officials hope to have a list of each vehicle’s condition, as well as a plan for buying replacements,when the assessment is complete, Watson said.

“We are very excited about this. (Bragg) has a great deal of fleet management experience with the city of Fayetteville, and we are certainly glad he has reached out and is going to help us,”Watson said.

Benton County owns 92 fire vehicles in departments throughout the county, Watson said.

Assessing each vehicle will provide justices of the peace and other county officials with a third party’s view of what each fire department’s needs are rather than their wants, Jimmy Thompson, president of the Benton County Fire Association, said.

News, Pages 12 on 11/11/2009

Print Headline: County fire vehicle assessment to begin

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