The Plainsboro Fire District received voter approval for the purchase of self-contained breathing apparatus to replace expiring equipment at a special capital vote meeting on Dec. 3. All registered voters were eligible to vote and the final tally was 39-0.
The fire district has allocated $350,000 for the purchase of 33 SCBA, or self-contained breathing apparatus, air packs, and 38 spare 30-minute air bottles. There are also plans to buy nine 60-minute air bottles which firefighters use in larger buildings, such as warehouses.
“We have the money to cover this and now we have the voter approval,” said Ted Wagner, chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners. “We’re investigating applying for a federal firefighters assistance grant.”
SCBAs have a 15-year life cycle and the current equipment will reach their life expectancy in early 2018, Wagner said. The fire district is aiming for delivery of the new SCBAs in early 2018. To award a contract in 2017, voter approval is needed the year prior.
According to fire company president Tom Healey, SCBAs are necessary safety equipment that provide a protective envelope when firefighters are in a toxic environment. Firefighters wear them when there is a threat of a fire, and Healey estimates the company has worn them in more than 70 percent of this year’s emergency responses.
This is the second major capital purchase this year by the fire district. In September, the fire company received voter approval to purchase a new 3,500-gallon water tanker. Wagner said they are nearing a roughly $370,000 purchase and the tanker is expected to be delivered by the summer.