A federal grant will help Saline firefighters breathe a little easier.
The Saline Area Fire Department now owns 22 new air packs. The total value of the equipment is $118,000. Thanks to a Homeland Security firefighter grant, the department only has to pay about $12,000.
Each self-contained breathing apparatus comes with pack, two bottles and a mask.
Fire Chief Craig Hoeft is always happy when the department gets a bargain on much-needed equipment.
“The last time we bought air packs was 10 years ago – and they were used from another department,” Hoeft said. “We haven’t had new packs as long as I can remember, other than one or two here and there.”
The Scott brand air packs are state of the art, Hoeft said, and an improvement on the existing equipment. For example, the bottles now have 45 minutes worth of air instead off 30. The masks also have meters that tell firefighters how much air is remaining in the bottles. The new packs also allow firefighters to hook up a second mask to an air bottle – a feature that can come in handy if a firefighter runs out of air.
Hoeft said that the grant benefitted fire departments across the county. The grant was administered by Van Buren Township.