Johnson County firefighters to get new life-saving tool thanks to $2.2 million grant

By Dia Wall
KSHB – February 14, 2017

Video627

New air packs are coming to five Johnson County fire departments next month, all thanks to a $2.2 million grant.

The Olathe Fire Department spearheaded the effort by writing a grant in January 2016 with Lenexa, Shawnee, Johnson County Fire District #1 and the Northwest Consolidated Fire District. It was approved in September 2016.

“Some of the features are very similar but like I said, the technology really brings us into the 21st century,” said Olathe Battalion Chief Pat Brown. The city of Olathe is getting about $600 thousand toward its new equipment.

Monday night, the Shawnee city council approved the additional $139 thousand it needed to supplement the grant and replace all its air packs. “We’re going from 45 minute to 60 minute packs,” Shawnee Fire Chief John Mattox shared. “If something goes wrong it gives them time to get out.”

The departments are getting the new Scott Safety X3 SCBA. SCBA stands for self-contained breathing apparatus.

Brown said, “This has built in technology that’s able to talk to the battalion chief who happens to be on scene or the incident commander. He can actually directly communicate through this air pack if the radio goes down.”

The low air alarm will also alert firefighters when the air packs reach 33 percent capacity. Currently, it alerts them at 25 percent.

One drawback is the new packs will be 3 pounds heavier than the ones they have now. Brown emphasized, “Even though it’s a slight increase, we greatly increased our safety.”

Mattox added, “They have like a zero failure rate.”

The Scott Safety X3 SCBA packs are set to be delivered to the Olathe Fire Department in mid-March. Training will start in April.

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
http://www.ksffa.com
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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