New HAZMAT, rescue gear coming for Rockmart firefighters
New gear for Rockmart firefighters to use on their rescue truck and when going to chemical spills or when clearing out methamphetamine labs is coming soon as the shelf life ends for what the Fire Department carries currently.
Polk County Commissioners approved $28,000, or half the total $56,000 cost overall for new equipment, which also included a new air compressor to fill up the tanks used by hazmat teams when they don their suits, or firefighters when they put on breathing apparatus and head into fires.
Rockmart Fire Chief Todd Queen said that all the items being purchased with funds from Polk County and the City of Rockmart is part of a continued agreement that keeps the two fire departments running.
For instance, whenever a car wreck occurs within the unincorporated parts of Polk County on the east side of Fish Creek, the Rockmart Fire Department’s rescue truck responds with equipment used to get driver and passengers out of a vehicle. Lift bags are one of the top items on the list of replacement equipment for the rescue truck, used mainly to lift cars and trucks off of each other when a wreck happens, or to help free any trapped people within.
Queen said the shelf life from the manufacturers for the lift bags was 10 years when previously purchased, and the new models are now estimated to last 18 years.
Also on the replacement list were new HAZMAT suits and the breathing apparatus within, which are only set to last five years at a time after repeated use.
Rockmart firefight- ers are at the moment the only ones within the county who can respond to chemical spills or other potential hazards caused by wrecks, or industrial accidents, or through illegal drug manufacturing.
They respond to all events within the county in aid agreements with Polk County Fire and the Cedartown Fire departments, and thus was one of the top items on his list to replace in the latest round of purchases.
He also said it was important to upgrade the air compressor the fire department uses to ensure their breathing apparatus have enough supplies in them to keep HAZMAT suit users comfortable while they work in dangerous situations.
“The one we had previously would do the job, but just barely,” Queen said. “And over the years, the compressor was purchased prior to the hazmat program initiated in 2006.”
The $28,000 approved by the county commission will be funded out of the 2014 Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax fund.
Rockmart is also required to put up $28,000 for the purchases.
A member of the Rockmart Fire Department’s HAZMAT team goes toward an Aragon house where a meth lab was believed to have been found on Aug. 30. Gear like this keeps firefighters safe from the dangers of chemical spills, drug labs and more, but they...