Shores Firefighters to Get New Air Packs
A federal grant will allow the St. Clair Shores Fire Department to purchase, and upgrade, their self-contained breathing apparatus.
When St. Clair Shores firefighters respond to fire calls later this year, they will have some of the latest—and safest—breathing equipment.
A federal grant will allow the fire department to replace their current bulky aluminum air tanks—that are nearly 25-years-old—with new state-of-the art carbon-fiber tanks.
These new tanks are about 7 pounds lighter, and include facemasks that have a heads-up display which show firefighters the amount of air remaining in their tanks.
The new equipment also includes "buddy breathers," which would allow two firefighters to breath off one tank in an emergency.
"These are two big upgrades," said St. Clair Shores Battalion Chief Greg Coplai, who added that all personnel will have the new equipment. "Every firefighter, responding on any given day, will have the brand new packs."
The St. Clair Shores Fire Department successfully applied for a Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighter Grant to purchase the new air packs. Only 17 of the department's air packs meet current specifications.
City Council recently accepted the $112,805 grant, which required a 20 percent city match of $28,201, to upgrade and replace the breathing equipment for the firefighters.
Funds from the grant will be used to purchase 20 new SCBAs with spare bottles, upgrade 17 SCBAs and purchase 17 new bottles. These new tanks also have 45 minutes of air, which is an increase of 15 minutes over the current tanks.
The older air packs will be donated to other departments who are in need of equipment, according to Fire Chief George Morehouse.
Lt. Coplai expects the department to have the equipment by late summer.