KIVFD awarded grant for breathing equip­ment

Record Observer - - News - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

CH­ESTER — The Kent Is­land Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment has been awarded a $285,143 De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity As­sis­tance to Fire­fight­ers Grant.

KIVFD As­sis­tant Chief Paul Schlot­ter­beck said the grant funds will be used to re­place all of the de­part­ment’s self-con­tained breathing ap­pa­ra­tus. SCBA has a life­span of about about 15 years, he said.

Since 2003 KIVFD has been for­tu­nate to re­ceive six De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity As­sis­tance to Fire­fight­ers grants, Schlot­ter­beck said. Schlot­ter­beck wrote the grants.

The first grant KIVFD re­ceived in 2003 pro­vided the equip­ment now be­ing re­placed. At that time, the grant re­placed hand-me-down SCBA from Anne Arun­del County.

“Those are now 14 years old. By the time the new ones go into ser­vice, they would have been reach­ing their 15 years,” Schlot­ter­beck said.

The de­part­ment will be pur­chas­ing 47 breathing ap­pa­ra­tus as well as spare air cylin­ders and a mask for every fire­fighter. A com­plete SCBA pack­age in­cludes a face mask and air pack, in­clud­ing the cylin­der, plus one spare cylin­der.

While some peo­ple think the tanks are oxy­gen, they are re­ally com­pressed breathing air, Schlot­ter­beck said.

The grant in­cludes enough money to pro­vide in­di­vid­ual, fit­ted masks for all the fire per­son­nel, around 50 ac­tive re­spon­ders.

“The grants have en­abled our de­part­ment to pur­chase and main­tain state-of-the-art equip­ment. All of the equip­ment pur­chased has been for the safety of our fire­fight­ers,” Schlot­ter­beck said.

The AFG Pro­gram of the DHS, Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency is an im­por­tant com­po­nent of the larger, co­or­di­nated ef­fort to strengthen the Na­tion’s over­all level of pre­pared­ness and abil­ity to re­spond to fire and re­lated haz­ards. Since 2001, the AFG has pro­vided more than $6.4 bil­lion in grants to first-re­spon­der or­ga­ni­za­tions to ob­tain much-needed emer­gency re­sponse equip­ment, per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment, fire­fight­ing and emer­gency ve­hi­cles, and train­ing.

He said KIVFD will con­tinue to do needs analy­ses. Grants are com­pet­i­tive and needs must match each grant’s priorities. Some needs don’t fit into the grants. For ex­am­ple, KIVFD is work­ing on re­plac­ing its 23-year-old res­cue truck — “a gi­ant tool box on wheels” — but it doesn’t fit into a grant, so the fire de­part­ment is rais­ing funds other ways.

“Equip­ment these days is dou­ble the cost of the av­er­age house, not the equip­ment, just the truck,” he said.

The Kent Is­land Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment is com­prised of friends and neigh­bors who vol­un­teer their time to pro­tect the res­i­dents and vis­i­tors of Kent Is­land. KIVFD is con­tin­u­ally seek­ing new mem­bers for all types of du­ties — not only fire­fight­ers and emer­gency medical ser­vices per­son­nel, but also peo­ple to help with fundrais­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties.

“We have a great cadet pro­gram for youth from ages 14-16,” Schlot­ter­beck said. Cadets par­tic­i­pate in train­ing and learn from ex­pe­ri­enced per­son­nel.

New mem­bers are pro­vided with all equip­ment, and the train­ing is free. Stop by the fire­house, pick up an ap­pli­ca­tion and find out how re­ward­ing it is to help your friends and neigh­bors when an emer­gency hits home, Schlot­ter­beck urged.

PAUL SCHLOT­TER­BECK

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