West Knox firefighters will have new breathing equipment as the department has been awarded a $242,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG).
Chief Darryl Baker said the grant will allow the department to purchase 35 of the self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and 70 air bottles.
While the department has working apparatuses for all of its firefighters, Baker said they are aging and that has created another problem.
“They are no longer making parts for them,” Baker said.
The total cost of the equipment is $254,310. The department must make up the difference.
Baker said department officials will review the bids for the equipment at its monthly meeting Monday.
Once a bid is approved, it will take approximately two months to get the new equipment.
“We will see if any of the other local departments are interested in our old ones,” Baker said. “It is kind of a pay it forward thing.”
Baker explained that while the air bottles have a 15-year life span, the apparatuses may be used as long as they pass an annual inspection.
Baker said the West Knox Fire Department applies for the AFG grant annually. In 2003 the was awarded a grant, which was used to purchase the SCBA equipment.
In 2007 an AFG grant was used to purchase a new fire truck.