Shelton firefighters to get new air packs with locators

The Board of Aldermen has unanimously approved spending $255,261 in city funds to help buy self-contained breathing apparatus for Shelton firefighters.

The city funding will be combined with a $447,219 federal grant to purchase 120 air-packs that have a built-in firefighter locator and accountability system.

“These are up to the new compliance standards,” Fire Chief Fran Jones said.

The new equipment “enhances our firefighter safety in town,” Jones said. “If a firefighter is in a building and is lost or disoriented, we can track them.”

The total cost of the 120 air-packs is $702,480, with the city paying slightly more than one-third of the cost.

The new apparatus will replace the existing air-breathing systems, which are considered antiquated.

Jones said the current air packs being used by Shelton firefighters were put into service in 1999, and need to be replaced.

According to Fire Department material on the purchase, the new systems will provide air for 45 minutes, can operate with the systems used by other nearby fire departments and the regional hazardous materials team, and the manufacturer has a maintenance and spare parts service.

The new air-packs have a life expectancy of 15 years, so the cost per year to the city for the purchase is about $17,000.

The purchase was put out to bid, and “the Scott Safety 4.6 Air Pack 57 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus was determined to be the vendor meeting all specifications to provide the level of safety and security acceptable to the Board of Fire Commissioners,” according to Fire Department material.

The federal money for the purchase came from FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters grant program and was secured by the Fire Department in 2012.