LYNN - A pleasant end to the year has happened for the Lynn Volunteer Fire Department despite the uncertainty the year 2020 has brought. Expensive items have been purchased thanks to two grants the department received recently. The most costly items are 16 brand new self-contained breathing apparatus devices used in most situations involved with the fire department. With the SCBAs are new face pieces, oxygen bottles and batteries. The grant which paid for these was an Assistance to Fire Fighters grant through the Federal Emergency Management Association for $112,795. The department also received a grant for $15,000 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for eight new radios and pagers. Also, the new LUCAS device was purchased recently with CARES Act funds and is now in the department’s possession.
The new SCBA replaced 16 purchased in 2006, which had electronic issues on some. The new G1s were purchased through MSA and were delivered Wednesday, Dec. 9, to the fire station. The grant was applied for in 2019.
“The old SCBAs had composite wrap bottles, and they only have a life of 15 years,” Derreck Cagle, assistant fire chief, explained. “There were 32 of them with the 16 packs. Each pack had a spare bottle. Those bottles are around $1,100 a piece to replace. Every year we have them serviced by an authorized dealer, but we had a lot of issues out of the (old) brand, so that’s what pushed us to apply for the grant.”
All three items are sold separately: the packs, bottles and face pieces, yet each are required for the whole unit to be in compliance with the National Fire Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“You can’t have one without the other,” Cagle added. “Next to a truck, they’re the most expensive pieces of equipment for a fire department.”
The SCBAs are a requirement for any fire fighter who is working house or structure fires and car fires. The material that burns releases hydrocarbons and carcinogens in the atmosphere.
“The only time we really don’t wear them on a fire is if it’s on a woods or wild fire,” Cagle said. “You have to have them, and luckily for us, we are blessed with a government which is helping fund these type of things. Budget wise, it would be a nightmare for us to replace something like that on our own.”
LVFD was notified Dec. 9, they were to receive the $15,000 grant to upgrade communications.
“That’s going to help us purchase eight new handheld radios and eight new pagers,” Cagle continued. “With the pandemic going on, we are one of those departments who have bank chargers for the radios on trucks. Each engine has a bank charger with six radios on it. There are 12 total. The guys have to grab the radios off the chargers when on scene. The theory behind the grant is trying to eliminate cross-contamination. The push was to get each fireman his own radio. It’s helping us keep up-to-date on our equipment we would struggle to do otherwise.”
Lynn is one of many volunteer fire departments in Winston County. There are two stations: the one on County Road 59 and the other located is County Road 1.
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