Châteauguay firefighters’ protective equipment will soon include new, ultramodern breathing apparatuses.
Translation courtesy Amanda Bennett
City Council awarded a $540, 000 contract to a company called Aéro-Feu during the meeting held on June 15th. “The current devices use technology from 1980. We’re moving into the 21st century,” stated Mayor Pierre-Paul Routhier. The material will serve to equip a little over thirty firefighters.
“Our devices are 30 years old. When they break, parts are no longer available. They have to be taken out of service. We need to avoid a situation where we do not have enough devices. After thirty years they have done their job”, explained Patrick Desmarais, Director of the Châteauguay Fire Department.
In spite of the norms for breathing apparatuses having changed over the past 30 years, the equipment currently is use is “still OK”, he said.
One of those norms is an alert that lets the firefighter know when there is a specific quantity of air left in the tank. That level is now 33% whereas in 2013 it was 25%. “It gives a firefighter a little bit more time to get out when necessary”, Patrick Desmarais explained.
Among the new devices’ features, the director spoke of masks with visual displays where information such as the amount of remaining air is visible. An integrated vocal communication system also facilitates exchanges between responders. The equipment is slightly lighter too, thanks to the use of newer materials. “When you are wearing the equipment for four hours, even a pound lighter can make a difference”, Patrick Desmarais assured.
Firefighters won’t need to screw on the tanks anymore either. The new system includes quick connecting fittings. It can also provide air to two firefighters simultaneously if needed. “If a firefighter has a problem with their system, they can connect to a colleague’s tank and they can both share the air,” Mr. Desmarais stated. “We think that for the cost/benefit ratio we are getting a good deal. It is an investment that will last 30 years,” he said. The order is expected to be fulfilled toward then end of August beginning of September.