GARBERVILLE >> More than 200 new self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) were inspected on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department and prepared for distribution to local volunteer fire districts. The equipment cost nearly $1.4 million and is being paid for by Measure Z, the half-cent sales tax passed by voters in November.
Local fire chiefs gathered at the Garberville Cal Fire station on Thursday to receive their new apparatuses and learn the proper way to use them. On hand was Alex Bunker, sales manger for Allstar Fire Equipment Inc. from Hayward. A representative from the manufacturer was also on hand.
It is difficult for volunteer fire departments in the county to make substantial purchases of new equipment. Often, these departments operate at emergency scenes with outdated, unsafe and inadequate equipment, which puts the safety of citizens and firefighters at risk. The equipment received last week will replace old equipment, dramatically improving the ability for volunteers to respond to fires and other emergencies.
These particular packs were chosen in large part because of the interoperability they offer with other local agencies. It is essential that fire departments be able to utilize each other’s compatible SCBA packs while at fire scenes and are able to recharge and reuse their empty air cylinders. Additionally, the Humboldt County Fire Chief’s Association, the organization that applied for Measure Z funds, purchased a mobile SCBA air fill trailer several years ago that is compatible with the equipment that was unveiled today. Now, rural fire departments can be more confident that their equipment is reliable and compatible with other local agencies by being able to use, rotate, refill and mix SCBA high-pressure bottles.
“Any time a firefighter goes to fight a house fire, a car fire, anything where there are toxins in the air, this is going to protect them,” said Estelle Fennell, Second District Supervisor and Chair of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. “These firefighters need so much, and they have all done so much with so little. It’s just wonderful to know that we can do something like this for them.”
In all, the purchase includes the following:
• 221 air packs with regulator hose, buddy breathing integration and cylinder connection
• 442 carbon cylinders (4,500 psi, 45 minutes)
• 221 high-temperature face pieces
• 221 bi-annual inspection per pack for five years
Our local fire departments received the following units: Alderpoint – 8, Briceland – 4, Fruitland – 6, Honeydew – 6, Miranda – 12, Myers Flat – 6, Palo Verde – 6, Phillipsville – 6, Redway – 11, Salmon Creek – 6, Shelter Cove – 5, Telegraph Ridge – 6, Weott – 4, and Whitethorn – 8.