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Pembrook Pines Gets New SCBA

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  • Pembrook Pines Gets New SCBA

    SUN-SENTINEL

    Pines firefighters to get upgrades on air packs

    By Nicole T. Lesson
    Staff Writer
    Posted August 6 2003

    Pembroke Pines firefighters who use breathing devices when fighting fires soon will know exactly how much air they have left.

    The Fire-Rescue Department expects to take delivery of 100 new air packs in October. The equipment will be the first significant upgrade in breathing devices in 12 years.

    "The increase of safety for the firefighters is the biggest benefit, and they will be able to work more efficiently and more safely in a dangerous environment," said Fire Marshal Dave Raines. "The current air packs do not meet contemporary standards. The parts are not readily available and the air pack technology is more than 12 years old."

    A digital gauge on the new masks will estimate how much air is left. But another digital gauge on the harness that secures the new equipment on a firefighter's shoulders will show exactly how much air is left and how much time is left at the current breathing rate.

    The old air packs, which provide air readings on a dial, are less precise and provide only an estimated count.

    Firefighters will be better protected once they know exactly how much air they have left, Raines said.

    "There are so many variables on the rate of [air] consumption, depending on type of work they are doing," he said. "If they are pulling a hose, inside the smoke, climbing a ladder or cutting a ventilation hole in the roof; everyone is different.''

    On average, the tanks have a 22-minute air supply, but that depends on the amount of how much exertion a firefighter faces, Raines said.

    The City Commission recently approved the purchase of the air packs and accessories for $424,520 from Porche Fire Equipment in Lakeland. The money comes from a city fund established for unexpected expenses.

    "We tried to purchase them via a grant, but we were unable to and the old packs no longer meet today's safety standards," Raines said.

    Once the air packs arrive, 30 days of training will be required before they are put to use.

    Eighty of the air packs will be placed on emergency vehicles; 20 will be stored as spares; and 10 will be reserved for the Fire-Rescue Department's administrative staff.

    The new breathing devices also have a universal fill device so that other fire-rescue departments can refill the packs.

    "If we are out giving mutual aid with another department [outside Pembroke Pines], they can fill our tanks to provide air," Raines said.

    An improved personal alert safety system also will be part of the new equipment.

    "When a firefighter turns the air pack on, it also turns on the personal alert safety system," Raines said. "If a firefighter remains motionless for a period of time, the device is armed automatically and sounds off. The new battery pack also warns the wearer 30 days before it goes dead."

    Until now, firefighters have had to turn the devices on separately after turning on the air pack.

    Nicole T. Lesson can be reached at [email protected] or 954-385-7920
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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