Berwyn Fire Department Receives Grant to Replace Self Contained Breathing Apparatus
The Mark News Online
September 20, 2010
By Sandra Anderson
The 67 full time firefighters currently covering the City of Berwyn, including the Chief, Assistant Chief, Commanders and the 12 new positions being filled by next year will receive the benefit of updated breathing apparatus equipment to enhance their safety, along with those they rescue.
Per Fire Chief Denis O'Halloran the Fire Department responds to about 8,000 incident calls per year, which averages out to about 21 to 22 calls per day. Although not all calls are fire related the equipment currently in use, while still effective, has become outdated.
Through the tireless efforts and assistance of 3rd District Congressman, Daniel Lipinski, the Berwyn Fire Department (BFD) was able to apply for and receive a FEMA "Assistance to Firefighters Grant." The grant will allow the department to replace the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs). The newer version of the 2007 models purchased meet the National Fire Protection Association standards.
"I'm very pleased to have helped secure this funding for critical safety equipment that will help Berwyn's brave firefighters to save residents' lives and prevent damage to property when dangerous blazes break out," Congressman Lipinski said. "Bringing federal dollars back to the Third District to enhance the safety of local residents has always been one of my top priorities. The first duty of government is to protect people from harm, and that's exactly what this funding will enable the Berwyn Fire Department to do."
Lipinski has assisted fire departments in his district in receiving more than $4.75 million dollars in federal grants to upgrade the tools they need to keep residents safe.
"Congressman Lipinski continues to work hard to help the city of Berwyn and its people," Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero said. "I want to thank him for all he has done and I look forward to continuing to partner with him to improve our residents' quality of life."
A SCBA device worn by firefighters provides breathable air in Immediate Danger to Life and Health Atmospheres.
The exotic materials used to provide flame resistance and weight reduction penalty on the fire fighter makes this piece of equipment extremely expensive. The $112,400 FEMA grant, along with the 20% contribution approved by Berwyn City Council and very strategic negotiations through a bidding process, has aided the Fire Department in increasing the number of SCBAs to 30. This will allow an in and out rotation, providing adequate time for standard maintenance and repairs.
The modern firefighting SCBAs BFD has purchased incorporates a PASS device (Personal Alert Safety System) into their design. These units emit distinctive high pitched alarm tones to help locate firefighters in distress by automatically activating if movement is not sensed for a certain length of time (typically between 15 and 30 seconds), also allowing for manual activation should the need arise.
Also included in the purchase package, the fire department received two "Pack Tracker Location Units", which enables the Incident Commander to track and provide a location of a fallen firefighter quickly to other responding personnel.
The new units were received in August and training begins in September. Once all personnel are trained in the use of the new units they will be placed in service at all three strategically located Fire Houses in the City and the old units will be traded-out to the vendor as part of the negotiated price.
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