Boulder, Colorado, advances first responder and climate goals with second electric fire engine from Rosenbauer

January 22, 2024

City of Boulder adds another electric fire engine to its fleet

Boulder, Colorado has reinforced its commitment to both first responder safety and achieving its climate goals with the acquisition of the city’s second electric fire engine.

This move comes nearly a year after the city’s initial announcement in spring 2023 about purchasing its first electric engine.

These two Rosenbauer RTX fire trucks position Boulder as the first city in the United States to possess two electric fire engines, demonstrating the city’s dedication to the safety of first responders and its climate objectives.

Electric fire engines: A step towards improved safety and efficiency

Battalion Chief Travis Richen expressed his views on this development: “The City of Boulder is certainly known for approaching new opportunities that improve our community and our climate, and these engines are a great example of that.

It is easy to lean into new technology when its priority is maintaining and improving the efficiency of our jobs and the safety of our crews.”

The Rosenbauer RTX fire trucks are notable for their all-electric driveline, ensuring efficient driving operations.

The trucks feature an advanced electric pump system and an energy backup system crucial for extended operations.

This system not only recharges the batteries but also supports pumping during prolonged incidents, offering a reliable firefighting solution.

Advanced features of the RTX fire engines

Todd McBride, RTX Sales & Marketing Manager for Rosenbauer, highlighted the unique features of the RTX: “The RTX is equipped with additional features that set it apart and prove invaluable for Boulder firefighters in optimizing their efficiency.

Among its distinctive attributes are state-of-the-art ergonomic technologies that prioritize firefighter health and safety.

Notably, the RTX includes an adjustable suspension, allowing it to raise and lower its ride heights based on the terrain.”

The RTX’s adjustable suspension lowers the truck to just 7 inches above the ground, easing entry and exit and minimizing strain on firefighters.

The truck also features all-wheel drive and an off-road mode, enhancing its performance in Colorado’s extreme winter conditions.

Impact on firefighter health and Boulder’s climate goals

The addition of the RTX fire engines is expected to significantly improve the occupational safety of Boulder’s fire-rescue crews.

These engines reduce exposure to carcinogenic fumes and noise, benefiting the health and safety of the city’s firefighters.

Additionally, these engines align with Boulder’s mission to combat climate change.

Michael Ogletree, Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Air Pollution Control Division, commented on the broader implications: “Reducing air pollution from gas-powered vehicles is critical to addressing Colorado’s unique air quality challenges.

“It’s encouraging that organizations are stepping up to take part in our programs to ease access to low- and zero-emission options.

“Organizations that participate in the transition to cleaner vehicles will help further protect the environment and health for Coloradans in their communities.”

Funding and future expectations

The acquisition of Boulder’s second electric fire engine was facilitated by a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Chief Richen added: “Residents can rest assured that our crews will arrive and respond in this new rig with the resources and care that they usually do.

“The amazing thing about this engine is that it functions more effectively than our legacy engines because of the built-in option to power the engine in two ways: electric and diesel.”

This dual power option ensures a reliable response with fewer service interruptions.

Both CDPHE and the City of Boulder recognize the importance of electric vehicles capable of performing under challenging conditions, striving to meet higher standards of community service, safety, and climate goals.

FSJA Comment

The City of Boulder’s initiative to integrate electric fire engines into its fleet marks a notable progression in aligning public safety objectives with environmental sustainability.

By prioritizing the health and safety of first responders through advanced technology, Boulder is setting a precedent for other cities.

The RTX fire engines represent not just a technological advancement but a commitment to operational efficiency and environmental responsibility.

This move could inspire similar adaptations in other regions, fostering a balance between effective public service and ecological consciousness.

The collaboration of various departments and the support from CDPHE exemplify a cohesive effort towards a greener future, highlighting the potential for innovative solutions in public service sectors.

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