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New equipment on tap

$119K federal grant helps purchase firefighter air packs

The Rindge Fire Department recently got new air packs, with such features as voice amplifiers and a buddy-breathing system, thanks to a federal grant, according to Fire Chief Rick Donovan.

The new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, commonly known as air packs, allow firefighters to connect to a partner’s air tank if they run out of oxygen, Donovan explain in an interview Tuesday.

During a Select Board Meeting on June 11, Donovan, Captain Dale Smith and Firefighter Casey Burrage presented the new equipment to the town officials.

According to the minutes of the meeting, firefighters explained the new packs are 10 pounds lighter than the older ones and have rapid intervention team connection. This allows firefighters to be able to talk to each other while dealing with the flames and could play a decisive role in case of an emergency, Donovan noted.

The new equipment was purchased with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security. Donovan explained that the total cost of the project was about $149,000. “The town contributed around 5 percent of the total cost,” Donovan said. The federal grant was $119,862 and the town of Rindge contributed the remaining $30,000.

Regarding what to do with the old air packs, which the department purchased in 2001, the Select Board unanimously decided to sell them to Dalmatian Fire, according to meeting minutes. Dalmatian Fire is Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus supplier that renovates used gear and then resells them.

The Select Board decided to ask for $3,500 for the 15 air packs. Donovan said Tuesday that the deal hasn’t been finalized yet.

“We are working with the vendor that was looking at them. We have to negotiate and make sure we get the amount the Select Board established,” Donovan said. He said if the final offer is for less, the air packs will be donated to Mascenic High School for their firefighter one program.

Donovan had said in the meeting that donating the equipment to Mascenic High School could be beneficial to the town, because the Fire Department could end up with trained firefighters from this program.

“Currently Mascenic doesn’t have any SCBAs, they have been borrowing from surrounding towns in order to complete the Firefighter One course,” Donovan is quoted as saying in the meeting minutes.

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