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Fuel prices impacting first responders’ budgets

By T.W. Starr

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    SHREVEPORT, Louisiana (KTBS) — High fuel prices are impacting every part of society and business. And local public safety departments are not immune.

When it comes to those higher higher fuel prices families can make adjustments on where they go, when they go or if they go. A fire department, a sheriff‘s office or a police department doesn’t have that choice.

“There’s not a lot we can do to cut down on that fuel consumption. Most of everything we have runs on diesel. They don’t get great gas mileage. The fire trucks get about 5 miles to the gallon. Our medic units get about 8 to 9 mph. A lot of times, we have to leave our medic units running. So, we get to the hospital maybe going to the next call, especially with this heat, that we have a cool environment,” said Fire Chief Clarence Reese.

Reese said SFD used to spend about $9,000 a week for fuel. That number has now risen to about $17,000 weekly.

The Shreveport Police Department spent a little over $1 million on fuel in 2021. With the higher fuel prices, the department is now on track for a 50 percent increase to over $1.5 million in 2022.

The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office has similar numbers. In 2021, it spent about $900,000 for fuel. It’s now on pace for about $1.5 million for fuel in 2022.

“It really impacts us. You spend 200,000 gallons of gas for instance in a year’s time. You can imagine, that’s a lot and that’s what the sheriff’s office does usually. So it’s quite expensive,” said Sheriff Steve Prator.

Reese said the public can help all the departments in the city by making sure if you make a call for help that it’s truly something that requires emergency assistance.

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