When any agency calls for bids for the purchase of apparatus or equipment, specifications should not be prepared so as to exclude all but one type or kind, but should include competitive supplies and equipment.
Writing specifications with the intent of securing one certain model and make of apparatus is discouraged. Fire department officers occasionally are so convinced that one manufacturer builds better equipment, they will use the product’s advertising specifications to write the bid specifications. This practice smothers competition.
The underlying principle of the bidding process is that the governmental body awards the contract to the best competitor meeting the terms and conditions of the bid invitation.
To determine if a bidder is truly responsible and capable of fully performing the desired services or furnishing the wanted equipment or vehicle, it is a legitimate obligation of the agency to investigate the bidders to determine that they do have the skills, abilities, and record of past performances to ensure that the specified item will be delivered at the correct time.
The low bid does not have to be accepted if it can be clearly shown that a higher priced apparatus is a better buy for the money. There are many legitimate questions that should be answered before a bid is awarded.
Only after the correct type and size of apparatus has been decided on, proper specifications written, bids solicited from a reasonable number of manufacturers and the bids are analyzed can the contract be awarded.
Supervision during construction may be required. A thorough inspection and testing period should be conducted upon delivery of the equipment or vehicle. This way the department has the certainty they have selected the apparatus that will do the best job for the best price.
Insurance Grading Recognition of Used or Rebuilt Fire Apparatus
The performance ability and overall acceptability of older apparatus has been debated between municipal administrations, the public fire service and many others for many years. The Fire Underwriters Survey (F.U.S.) have addressed this question as follows:
“The public fire service is unique. It is probably the only emergency service whose vehicles are not continuously in use. However, when in use the apparatus is subject to considerable mechanical stress due to the nature of its function. This stress does not normally manifest itself on the exterior of the equipment. It is effectively masked in most departments