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Firefighters to get new breathing devices
$436,360 federal grant will buy essential safety equipment
Posted Date: 5/12/2017
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The City of Clarksville has been awarded a federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $436,360 to purchase 71 new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units for Clarksville Fire Rescue firefighters.

The breathing devices being used by City firefighters, purchased with a 2002 AFG grant, are more than 14 years old and considered obsolete and out of compliance with the National Fire Protection Association standards.

SCBAs provide firefighters with the highest level of respiratory system protection and greatly expand the capacity of firefighters when performing fire attack, searches, hazmat and technical rescue operations. The devices reduce firefighter injuries and deaths related to inadequate respiratory protection.

“I’m delighted we were awarded this substantial grant to upgrade our firefighters’ safety equipment,” Mayor Kim McMillan said. “I want to commend Debbie Smith, the City’s grants coordinator, who does a great job finding these opportunities and writing effective grant requests.”

Each new SCBA unit to be purchased with the grant will include the harness/backpack, face piece and two cylinder bottles providing city firefighters with the newest respiratory protection. Replacing the obsolete SCBAs with the newest version also requires new facepieces. The grant will buy 168 new facepieces to provide all 239 operational firefighters with their own individual facepiece compatible with the new SCBAs.

“We desperately needed these new air packs and masks, so I’m thankful we were awarded the grant,” said Ray Williams, Clarksville Fire Rescue Deputy Chief. “The new equipment will provide a higher degree of protection and they are lighter and more comfortable.”

The grant will also pay for necessary tools and training to allow Clarksville Fire Rescue to maintain and repair the SCBAs in-house as well as train new firefighters on the use of the SCBAs, thus saving money and prolonging the life of the equipment.
The new SCBAs also offer harness customization to ensure one size truly does fit all allowing flexibility in cases of a wide variety of body types and sizes of the firefighters.