Oregon firefighters benefit from a $282K grant for improved SCBA equipment

October 13, 2023

The North Bend Fire Department has announced the acquisition of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) totaling $282,514.

The funds are slated for updating the department’s aging self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) equipment, reinforcing the department’s dedication to both firefighter and community safety.

Meeting updated safety standards with SCBA gear

Fire Chief Jim Brown highlighted the condition of the department’s SCBA equipment: “Our current 36 SCBA packs, adhering to 2002’s NFPA standards for over 15 years, now fall short of current paramount NFPA standards in three key areas: facepiece heat resistance, low air alerts, and voice amplification.”

Federal support amplifies SCBA upgrade efforts

Acknowledging the role of the federal government, Chief Brown remarked: “U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have been unwavering allies.

“Their continued federal advocacy ensures that our firefighters are well-equipped to protect every Oregonian.

“This grant emphasizes that deep commitment.”

The grant enables a full upgrade to all SCBA packs, spare cylinders, and masks according to the latest NFPA standards, integrating the newest technology to protect first responders.

Detailing the urgency of these upgrades, Chief Brown added: “Currently, our facepieces follow the NFPA 2002 edition which stipulates a 200-degree, five-minute test under a ten-second direct flame.

“Modern standards, however, require a tougher 500-degree test. The SCBA facepiece, as it stands, is our most susceptible protective gear against heat threats.

“Upgrading our SCBA to meet current standards has been vital. Achieving this significant upgrade would not have been possible without the essential federal backing.”

The broader purpose of the AFG is to address the varied requirements of fire departments and independent emergency medical services.

As of August 11, 2023, FEMA has allocated 1,159 awards, amassing a total of $205 million.

Such awards are instrumental in furnishing firefighters and first responders with essential equipment, training, and resources.

FSJA Comment

The acquisition of this significant grant by the North Bend Fire Department marks a pivotal moment in reinforcing the safety standards for both firefighters and the community.

In the ever-evolving world of fire safety, it’s essential that equipment remains up-to-date with the latest standards.

The commitment shown by federal entities like FEMA and supportive senators underscores the national dedication to ensuring that firefighters have the best resources at their disposal.

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