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Should fire departments sell ad space on fire trucks?

Our readers sounded off, discussing the many pros and cons of using business decals to raise money for the department


Officials said the department will feature two decals on each of their trucks, which will bring in about $250,000.

Photo/Mesa Fire Department

By FireRescue1 Staff

The Mesa (Ariz.) Fire Department is rolling out new sponsor-related decals on their fire trucks in order to make up for millions lost in budget cuts.

Deputy Chief Forrest Smith, who claims the decal program is the first of its kind in the country by a large-scale fire department, said they’re being “very particular” about who they work with.

Currently, Engine 203 has an “It’s Everyone’s Business to Stop the Spread of the Flu” decal on it, sponsored by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Officials said the department will feature two decals on each of their trucks, which will bring in about $250,000.

But the question remains: are fire trucks the appropriate avenue to include sponsor decals? Our readers sounded off on Facebook, discussing the many pros and cons of using businesses’ decals to raise money for the department.

Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

  1. “I can see some unintended consequences down the road. Why would you want your business advertised on the front page in a picture of a horrific car accident? Or a picture of the local hole-in-the-wall restaurant ablaze? We don’t advertise on the front doors of the fire department, so why on our rigs? I, for one, wouldn’t want to appear bought and paid for by big business.” – Donna Abell
  2. “It is a slippery slope and should not be done. Some advertising could be offensive to some clients. Some lawsuits can arise from not accepting certain ads. There are problems which are not needed in this profession and there is no protection in law from it.” – Sarone A. Kennedy Sr.
  3. “If it doesn’t interfere with the operation of the truck and the readiness of manpower, and it brings in money for the department, go for it.” – Aaron Liske
  4. “No. These are not mobile billboards. They are a piece of equipment to help save lives and people’s houses, full of special equipment and gear to do that with. I hope to not see this happen.” – Scott Schofield
  5. “We have an ambulance that was purchased by an area business after the city didn’t budget enough. They only wanted a small decal on rear-side corners. For a $160,000 purchase, that was minimal.” – Martin Sullivan
  6. “Equipment isn’t cheap; many departments have limited funding. If there is a way to gain funding for better and safeer equipment, why not?” – Ryan Dhew
  7. “No. They have specific markings, lights, reflective material, colors and inverted chevrons to prevent already distract drivers from striking them. Save our emergency responders. Stop this nonsense.” – Brad Davidson
  8. “Many states are doing that with their highway response/safety vehicles. It’s a great way to save taxpayers money, pay for needed maintenance, new gear, rigs, etc. As long as the entire truck isn’t a billboard, is readily identifiable and it doesn’t interfere with operations, go for it.” – Kyle Atwood
  9. “I don’t think businesses have any business putting logos on fire trucks, just my personal opinion. If they want to give money, then donate. Otherwise, we’re not race car drivers that need sponsors and decals on fire trucks.” – Greg Tomas
  10. “Oh, awesome. Turn the rigs into rolling advertisements and billboards. Let the community forget what the apparatus are really for.” – Chris Sopko