Published: November 9, 2016
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Red Lake Fire Rescue members are continuing to train on new equipment this month as the department implements the use of standardized breathing apparatuses.
Fire Chief Walter Scarrow confirmed last month that delivery had been made for 36 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), 45 spare cylinders, and two Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) packs. The SCBA units include cylinder, mask, back plate, and electronics. The two RIT packs, which have been put on the Cochenour and Red Lake fire trucks, hold a face mask, regulator, and a one-hour cylinder to be used for firefighter or civilian for rescue.
“Previous to this purchase we had seven SCBA models in which our members were required to become proficient on. We now have one unit to train on which is much more efficient,” said Scarrow while discussing the purchase on Oct. 26.
“The history with SCBAs is if you did interior attack and expected rescue you purchased SCBAs. Today with the smoke and the carcinogens and the contaminations on scene even outside attacks you are putting firefighters at risk with toxins, especially a car fire. They are extremely toxic. Even though you are outside and not entering a car fire is very toxic. The wearing of SCBAs is basically on all fire scenes now whether it is outside or interior attack.”
The Municipality purchased the new equipment on a rent to own basis for approximately $197,000. Cylinders purchased are high pressure and are 45 minute and 4500psi, which extends the amount of air available to the user.
“The low alarm kicks in at 1/3 now as they have increased the standard. To give more working time inside, search time or working time under air we have gone to the high-pressure set ups,” adds Scarrow.
Red Lake Fire Rescue currently has five stations and experiences an average call volume of about 75-100 calls per year. Call volumes in the last five years has fluctuated due to the phasing out of woodstoves for natural gas options, however, has seen a recent serge with the introduction of Liberty security systems.
(seen above: Station #1 Safety Officer Brian Kraft briefs fellow firefighters on a training exercise on Nov. 14.)
Photo by Jennifer Parsons