Mayor Sandy Stimpson today announced the purchase of five new, heavy-duty sport utility vehicles, which will be used for Mobile Fire-Rescue Department emergency medical calls.

MFRD Capt. Jack Busby, district chief of logistics shows Mayor Sandy Stimpson the interior of one of the department's new sport utility vehicles.

MFRD Capt. Jack Busby, district chief of logistics shows Mayor Sandy Stimpson the interior of one of the department's new sport utility vehicles.

Stimpson and acting MFRD Chief Billy Pappas made the announcement standing in front of one of the new vehicles at central fire station downtown. The five vehicles cost the city $50,000 each and were paid for through the MFRD’s $2 million capital budget.

Stimpson said EMS personnel, before, would be forced to bring a fire truck to every scene, now they’ll be able to use the new vehicles on calls, where a fire truck is not needed. The new vehicles should cut down on maintenance costs for the city.

“It makes sense to do what we’re doing here,” he said.

Pappas said the new EMS vehicles are important considering nearly 84 percent of the calls received are for EMS and it was impractical to take a fire truck to respond each time. For instance, he said the SUVs use less fuel and are more nimble in traffic than the larger trucks.

“The cost of operating a truck is very high,” he said. “The goal is to get there more quickly and take care of the patient. Things don’t get better until we get there.”

The five new vehicles should all be hitting the roads in the next few weeks, Stimpson said. MFRD Division Chief of Logistics Capt. Jack Busby said the vehicles are a variation of the Ford Explorer, called the Ford Interceptor. They are each equipped with a 365-horsepower engine.

The move is one of many Stimpson hopes to make in order to improve the city’s motor pool. He said from 2001 to 2010, roughly $8 million was taken out of the motor pool and use to prop up the budget elsewhere. Stimpson said the city owns 3,200 vehicles, which is more than the number of employees at 2,300.

“It takes 1.3 to 1.4 vehicles to keep them moving,” he said. “It’s something we need to address. As we move forward we need to look at ways to put money back into the motor pool.”