Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation initiates ‘Fleet Forward’ campaign

December 7, 2023

Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation launches innovative sustainability campaign

The Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation (AFRF) recently announced the initiation of the ‘Fleet Forward’ capital campaign.

This initiative, kickstarted with a significant $500,000 donation from Norfolk Southern, aims to raise $3 million for the acquisition of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s (AFRD) first electric fire engine and electric vehicle (EV) rapid response vehicles​​.

Pioneering a sustainable future in firefighting

The ‘Fleet Forward’ campaign aligns with the City of Atlanta’s commitment to environmental sustainability and innovation.

It represents a strategic move towards utilizing electric vehicles (EVs), which are noted for being easier to service and repair than traditional diesel trucks.

This transition is in line with Atlanta’s 2017 pledge to increase EV readiness and maintain its status as a leader in sustainability​​.

Public-private partnerships driving change

The campaign underscores the importance of public-private collaborations in addressing environmental challenges.

Alan Shaw, President and CEO of Norfolk Southern, highlighted the company’s commitment to safety, sustainability, and community support through this initiative.

This endeavor aligns with the corporate sector’s support for innovative and sustainable advancements in public safety​​.

Taos Wynn, Interim President and CEO of AFRF, stressed the necessity of diversified solutions to improve fire and emergency response.

The campaign seeks to leverage both private and public support to enhance the fire industry’s capabilities​​.

Chris Sizemore, Vice Chair of the AFRF, also emphasized the role of technological advancements in evolving traditional fire-rescue equipment into more eco-friendly tools.

This initiative augments efforts by Mayor Andre Dickens and the Atlanta City Council to secure additional funding through private and philanthropic sources​​.

Mayor Dickens expressed gratitude for the partnership, noting its importance in achieving a resilient and sustainable Atlanta.

The campaign is seen as a critical step towards modernizing AFRD’s fleet, enhancing cost and energy efficiencies​​.

A vision for advanced fire and emergency services

Atlanta Fire Chief Roderick Smith acknowledged the significance of this initiative in placing the city at the forefront of fire and emergency technology.

The support from AFRF and corporate partners like Norfolk Southern is pivotal in providing firefighters with industry-leading resources​​.

About Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation

Established in 2004, AFRF is a unique 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that collaborates with individuals, small businesses, corporations, and civic groups to support the 1,200 public safety personnel of AFRD.

The foundation focuses on funding workforce development for youth, continuing education, housing needs for firefighters, and improvements at fire and EMS stations.

AFRF plays a crucial role in ensuring equitable access to fire and EMS protection across all neighborhoods​​.

FSJA Comment

The ‘Fleet Forward’ campaign launched by the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation marks a significant milestone in the realm of public safety and environmental sustainability.

By focusing on the procurement of electric fire engines and rapid response vehicles, the initiative not only addresses the immediate needs of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department but also aligns with the broader objectives of urban sustainability and innovation.

This campaign is a prime example of how public-private partnerships can be effectively leveraged to drive substantial change, particularly in areas where technological advancements can have a profound impact on community safety and environmental health.

The substantial lead gift from Norfolk Southern, coupled with the support from the City of Atlanta and its private sector, underscores the collective commitment to enhancing the capabilities of first responders while adhering to sustainability goals.

As urban centers worldwide grapple with the dual challenges of ensuring public safety and mitigating environmental impacts, initiatives like the ‘Fleet Forward’ campaign serve as a blueprint for integrating innovation with practical, community-focused solutions.

The move towards electric vehicles in fire and emergency services not only demonstrates a commitment to technological advancement but also signifies a shift towards a more sustainable and efficient approach to public safety operations.

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