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Efforts by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center's fire emergency services division reaped more than $323 million in cost savings that have enabled the Air Force to field new firefighting technology sooner, according to a center release. Some seven years ago, the Air Force had 1,863 fire vehicles valued at more than $840 million, with an average age of 22 years—significantly higher than the average fire truck's minimum service life of 12-18 years, states the Sept. 30 release. "[Civil engineer] leaders set a goal to recapitalize our fire vehicle fleet in 20 years," said Jim Podolske, Air Force fire chief and FES division director. "The Air Force allots $25 million per year for fire vehicles, provided there are no cuts. That amount into $840 million yields a 33.6-year recapitalization rate, well past the service life of most fire vehicles. Either we had to have more money to meet the 20-year goal or find other ways," he said. Through bulk sales and lower costs due to the economic downturn, FES was able to bring 248 new trucks into the fleet, reducing the fleet's average vehicle age down to 17 years, states the release. (Tyndall report by John Burt)