The Candia Volunteer Fire Department was awarded $68,000 in grant monies for new SCBA’s from the 2013 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). Money is to be used to replace our current outdated and obsolete air packs. The remaining cost of the new packs will be paid for from the Fire Department's capital reserve fund. Except from the grant application:
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND BUDGET:
There are 18 seats and SCBAs currently carried on our primary structural firefighting apparatus and rescue truck. All SCBAs are inspected weekly to ensure proper operation and they are inspected and flow tested by a certified factory trained technician regularly. These inspections have revealed that we have deficiencies in all 18 of our SCBAs which are preventing us from being able to comply with existing NFPA 1981 and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134 requirements.
There are 13-SCBA which are 1997 edition and +12 years of age. The other 5-SCBAs are 10 years old and are 2002 edition. We are already sending out a couple of the older packs every month for expensive repairs.
These older packs lack RIT connections and are not CBRNE rated. We have a large concentration of liquid chlorine gas which is used and stored for the operations our local water park attraction and we are only 32 miles from the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. In light of the Fukishima Nuclear Plant disaster in Japan, many US Officials are now recommending that the safe evacuation distance for this type of incident be moved to 50 miles and we are located 18 miles inside of the 50 mile limit. Our area experiences consistent onshore winds blowing from the Seabrook area which would present a significant hazard to our personnel and our residents if an incident occurs there.
The harnesses of the packs are worn and frayed, and the securing straps and buckles do not grip the straps securely, causing slippage and constant readjustment. Some masks have dry rot cracking in the seals and the elastic head straps are stretched from continual use causing leakage. The face shields have become, discolored and scratched to the point of obscuring vision. Newer packs are lighter and more ergonomically designed and put the pack lower on the back reducing entanglement issues and FF fatigue.
The bottles are leaking down when stored and requiring more frequent repairs. This causes our FFs to hesitate and delays commitment to SAR and initial attack as they check the packs before donning them to assure the pack is indeed full. It limits the FFs time to conduct SAR and initial attack in cases requiring bottle change-out prior to use, which is endangering them and the public.
We need to replace all 18 of these packs. We believe that we have sufficient funding to meet our matching requirement and to also be able to replace the 5 packs that are 2002 edition from within our own budget and are only asking the program to replace our 13- 1997 edition packs. This means we would end up being 100% compliant with 18- packs at NFPA1981-2013 standards.