$160K Grant for Fire Department Air Packs
CT 11/13/17 (Update)

Chillicothe Fire Department received $160,000 from the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant to update and replace SCBAs (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus). The current in service SCBAs are 18 to 22 years old. This will replace 28 current in service SCBAs.

Firefighters from "A Shift" are, from left: Lieutenant Aaron Minnick, David Gillespie, Captain Les Hinnen,
Zach Parks, James Jeffries, Shawn Gott, and Tyler Bowlen.

When firefighters go into a burning structure, confined space, or hazardous environment, they carry the SBCA on their backs to have safe breathing air while inside a harmful atmosphere. This keeps the firefighters alive. The new SCBAs have the newest and up-to-date features with buddy-breathing capabilities, so if a firefighter runs out of air or has a malfunction, the SCBAs can be linked together so the firefighter can get out safely. The SCBAs also have built-in PASS devices, which is a personal alert safety system, so if a firefighter goes down or doesn't move, it alarms to alert everyone nearby that a firefighter is injured, down, or needs help. The new air packs also have a new snap change system so less time is spent changing bottles when out of air.

The new SCBAs have arrived, so firefighters will be training with these new and improved models soon before they are put into service.

August 30, 2017 - A $168,000 federal grant will help the Chillicothe Fire Department upgrade its self-contained breathing apparatus equipment as well as buy other equipment. Fire Chief Darrell Wright said that the city received a FEMA grant that will be used to purchase the SCBAs, bottles, masks with trackers and chargers. Chillicothe City Council members on Monday evening unanimously approved the lowest and best bid for the equipment from Municipal Emergency Services. The total bid amount is for $180,872 and will include the city's $8,000 required grant match and additional funds for extra equipment and upgrades. The local funding will come from the fire department's tax fund in the amount of $20,872. The fire department's tax fund balance (generated through a quarter-cent sales tax that voters passed in 2003) is at $1,057,000. Wright said the grant money will fund purchases that the department would have needed to make anyway. The department's 10-year projection of the tax fund had the fund balance at about $740,000. Although the balance is ahead of what was projected, Chief Wright stated that the department doesn't necessarily have "extra" money and that it will continue to seek grants when possible.

June 5, 2017 - The Chillicothe Fire Department was informed Friday that the department will receive a $160,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant. The grant is officially for Safety and Operations. The Department will replace 28 of the current air packs currently in use. Under the terms of the grant, the packs that are still usable will be used by other fire departments around the area. The total cost for the new Air Packs is $168,000, which means the city will have to provide $8,000 in matching funds, which already had been budgeted. The city will pay for the new air packs and will be reimbursed by FEMA.

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