Fire departments aim to keep their firefighters safe with new equipment

Fire departments aim to keep their firefighters safe with new equipment

Fire departments aim to keep their firefighters safe with new equipment

Every time firefighters respond to a call, they can never be sure that they will return to their fire station. However, there are factors that can increase the odds of a safe conclusion to their days, such as additional firefighter training and better equipment.Fire departments that not only stay abreast of the latest in firefighting gear and technology, but also provide it for their crews, prove they place a strong value on keeping these professionals safe when they are on the job. Recently, the following three fire departments made headlines for their efforts to create a stronger firefighting force in the areas they are dedicated to protecting:

New fire truck means new capabilities
In North Carolina, the Holly Ridge Fire Department became the recent recipient of a new fire truck valued at $250,000, the Jacksonville Daily News reported. The ladder truck came free of charge through the state’s Forestry Service, so long as the fire department covers its delivery charges. Of course, a delivery charge is a small price to pay given all area firefighters will be able to do with this new vehicle in their possession.

“It will increase aerial operations,” Brandon Longo, chief of the Holly Ridge Fire Department, told the news source. “We can fight larger fires, flow more water and make quicker rescues.”

Not only will the ladder truck make it easier for firefighters to rescue individuals trapped in tall structures, but it will also benefit nearby fire departments that receive aid from Holly Ridge, including those on Pender County, Turkey Creek, Haws Run and Sneads Ferry.

Firefighters receive much-needed replacement gear
In Toledo, Ohio, firefighters no longer have to rely on 16-year-old gear, as they are now using new self-contained breathing apparatuses, the Toledo Blade reported. In total, the city’s fire department received 222 units, six laptops and five rapid intervention team packs, which, all together, cost more than $1.2 million. Fortunately, $995,776 was covered by a U.S.Department of Homeland Security assistance to firefighters grant.

The units firefighters now wear are about four or five pounds heavier than what they were used to, but they are also said to do a better job of distributing the 26 to 28 pounds they weigh. At the same time, the face pieces come equipped with three green lights that reveal how much air is left in the 30-minute tanks firefighters are carrying.

“These will improve our safety,” Lieutenant Matthew Hertzfeld told the news outlet. “…This is a major step in making a dangerous job safer. Ultimately, at a fire scene, your air supply is one of the most important issues you have to deal with.”

New air packs make it easier to breathe
When firefighters rush into burning buildings, the last thing they want is to run out of air. Unfortunately, this became a problem for professionals in DeKalb County, Georgia, in recent years, as the brand of air packs they were using repeatedly failed them, WSB-TV Atlanta reported. Now, these same firefighters are doing their job without any breathing problems thanks to county leaders’ decision to purchase Scott brand air packs.

“They are relieved,” Norman Augustin, the DeKalb fire chief, told the news source in regards to his firefighters. “I’m excited we actually have a piece of equipment we can operate safely.”

While it is not always possible to know how well firefighting equipment will perform in a major blaze, firefighter training drills may prove to be a good opportunity for testing the quality of a department’s gear.

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