Portland, OR -

The Portland Fire Bureau says it's saving money by sending specially equipped SUVs to some aid calls instead of full-size fire trucks.

The new rapid response vehicles have a crew of two compared to four people on a truck. The SUVs also cost less to operate than a fire engine or ladder truck.

The Oregonian reports the bureau is testing the vehicles at four stations. A study to be presented to the city council Wednesday says they have saved the bureau nearly $2,000 in the period between July and October.

The fire bureau says the vehicles can respond to low-level non-emergency calls that account for about 7 percent of the dispatched calls or about 5,000 responses a year in Portland.