|Hoodland Fire receives grant for new breathing apparatus posted on 10/01/2021|
While many imagine the breathing apparatus firefighters are
frequently shown wearing into a fiery environment is an oxygen tank, it
contains regular breathing air, which consists of only 21 percent oxygen.
“Pure oxygen in a fire isn’t a good thing,” said Scott
Kline, Division Chief for Hoodland Fire District, pointing out one of the many
potential dangers firefighters encounter in the line of duty.
The Hoodland Fire District (HFD) was awarded a Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) in
August for the replacement of all the district’s Self-Contained Breathing
Apparatus (SCBA). The annual grants have been offered by FEMA since 2001 to
provide funding for “critically needed resources necessary for protecting the
public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.”
“A SCBA is worn any time we’re working in an IDOH (In Danger
of Hazard) environment,” said Kline.
A SCBA consists of a facemask, backpack, straps and a tank.
The grant money will enable the district to purchase 31 masks and packs, 62
refillable bottles and 10 extra masks.
The updated protective gear will cost $220,398 with $209,900
provided from FEMA funds and the district providing five percent in matching
funds, or approximately $10,495.
The SCBAs are evaluated for safe use based on National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA) standards. The district’s current SCBAs were last
upgraded in 2008 and met 2007 standards at the time.
Kline explained the district was expecting to have to phase
out and replace these devices next year.
“Next year (our current devices) will not meet the safety
standard set forth by the NFPA,” Kline said.
The updated standards will render the 15-year-old SCBAs
obsolete. The district will not be able to donate the gear to another district
Each bottle contains 45 minutes of regular breathing air for
use in the field before a replacement bottle is needed. HFD has a compressor to
refill and reuse the tanks at the station.
HFD will begin receiving sample SCBAs from manufacturers for
evaluation and testing, followed by a bid request, purchasing and fulfillment
over the next six months before receiving the new devices.
More information about the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters
Grant program is available online at https://www.fema.gov/grants/preparedness/firefighters.
HFD can be contacted at email@example.com.
By Ben Simpson/MT