The Staunton Fire Department now has 33 brand new air packs. Firefighters are learning all about the new equipment and getting a chance to try it out.
The Staunton Fire Department’s current air packs are 15 years old.
“They’re outdated to the new NFPA standards,” said Staunton Fire Department Fire Chief Scott Garber.
Garber is happy to replace the packs with new, top of the line Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units. He says the SCBA units are easier to use and about two pounds lighter.
Firefighter Jarrett Harlow says comfort is the key when they’re taking the packs on and off all day long.
“It’s not only going to be more comfortable, but it's also going to help us be safer, which is really the main goal,” Harlow said.
Improved safety features include the PASS Device, or Personal Assistant Safety System.
“If that firefighter is motionless for a certain period of time, the device will sound and alert us to that,” Garber said.
The new air packs also have the Vibra alert, which is Harlow’s favorite improvement.
“That actually shakes your mask and vibrates when you're getting low on air,” Harlow said. “So you know sooner that you're running out of air and you can make your way out before it's too late.”
Garber says they strive to provide firefighters with the best equipment there is.
“Now we know they're wearing the best breathing apparatus they could be wearing into a hazardous atmosphere,” Garber explained.
“These packs are kind of our lifeline - it's what we rely on, so it's definitely a good feeling knowing we have some of the best equipment out there,” said Harlow.
A $300,000 grant paid for the new air packs. The fire department expects to have them in service in the next couple of weeks.
Release from Staunton:
February 13, 2017 - The city of Staunton’s Fire & Rescue Department firefighting personnel will be using new, life-saving equipment recently purchased with a $300,000 grant from FEMA.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, designed to help firefighters protect themselves and the health and safety of the public, is allowing the city to replace aging, self-contained breathing apparatus, which are nearly 15 years old.
The equipment helps firefighters to breathe safely in dangerous and life-threatening situations.
The city provided a 10 percent match to the grant - or $30,000 - and the total funds were used to help purchase 33 self-contained breathing apparatus.
“This grant has provided us a tremendous opportunity to modernize our life-saving equipment with minimal impact to the city’s budget,” said Fire Chief Scott Garber. “We make every effort to find efficient ways to improve our life-saving equipment, provide better services and create safer working environments for our staff. Each year, when new AFG opportunities are announced, we prioritize the needs of the fire department and focus our attention on critically needed equipment to safely respond to and mitigate emergencies.”
Training on the apparatus has been completed, and the units are ready for use beginning today.
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