Atlanta City Council members concerned about number of fire engines out of service

The city of Atlanta is struggling to keep enough fire trucks in service.

At the beginning of the week, council members learned in a memo from the union that fourteen pieces of equipment were sidelined at the city garage.

"Yes, we have some challenges," said James McLemore, a deputy chief. "We are working with fleet to get the problem resolved."

Atlanta's managers have worked to increase the mechanic staff. It has not been easy because the complicated machinery requires a highly specialized technician.

Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who brought up the union memo during a meeting, wanted to know about a workaround while the equipment is in the shop.

Norwood asked, "How are we able to get fire service to the neighborhoods?"

McLemore explained fire managers distribute resources daily equidistant from one neighborhood to the next.

It is not an optimum plan. Depending on where you live, minutes can be added to your response time when there are up to a dozen trucks backed up in the garage.

In some cases, mechanics must wait for replacement parts to arrive.

At week’s end, city managers say the number of sidelined trucks had been trimmed from fourteen to four.