By Meg Olson
The Point Roberts fire district has been successful in securing a sizable grant that will allow the department to replace all of their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
“I expect the funding to be approximately $160,000,” said fire chef Christopher Carleton at the district’s July 13 meeting, and it comes in the nick of time.
“I’ve put in applications for this for three years and it came down to needing to have it.” The SCBAs currently in use are three generations behind current designs, and 25 out of 40 air bottles are approaching their disposal date.
The grant will allow the department to purchase 20 new breathing units with two bottles each. “We hope to have them on board by September,” Carleton said.
Firefighters entering a hazardous environment wear the SCBAs, and the new models will help increase firefighter safety, Carleton added. “The brains inside of it have become smarter,” he said, allowing them to remotely track a firefighter while on the scene.
With the replacement of the SCBAs becoming a necessity, the district had set aside funds in case the grant attempt was not successful. By obtaining the grant, “it’s freed up some capital for some things that have been on hold,” Carleton said.
Commissioners approved a $60,000 package of capital expenditures Carleton had prepared, including scene lighting, bunker gear, gas detectors and a
nitrox system to help patients with pain management.
“I know that each and every one of these things is a life safety item,” said commissioner Stan Riffle.