Volunteer firefighters throughout the Winchester area can possibly look forward to a much needed piece of equipment that will help them continue to save lives.
Winchester Fire and Rescue Chief Allen Baldwin says 70 slightly used SCBA masks, which stands for “self contained breathing apparatus”; will possibly be donated to local volunteer fire companies in the Winchester area, as well as to the Frederick County Winchester Training Center if council approves them to do so.
“The department of the city has been upgrading the face pieces assigned to crew personnel over the last year due to some updates and national standards and federal regulations,” said Winchester Fire and Rescue Chief, Allen Baldwin.
Chief Baldwin says due to a high surplus in the masks, the ones that will possibly be donated are no longer being used by current Winchester Fire and Rescue staff.
“They have a limited service life left, but until we can get strategic planning in place, and come up with a long term plan, they will be a benefit to our volunteers and to the training center,” added Chief Baldwin.
Once the masks have been donated, Chief Baldwin says they will then be assigned, and customized to fit each volunteer. He says this ultimately helps them save hundreds of dollars.
“The face pieces new cost about $265.00 to $300.00 a piece. Current market value going from vendors, these face pieces will range from anywhere between $30.00 and $40.00
Winchester city officials say volunteers help them save about one million dollars per year, so helping them out when they can is a must.
“These items are becoming obsolete but they are still serviceable. The city and the volunteer fire companies are in the process in looking in the strategic plan for updating the breathing apparatus in the future,” said Chief Baldwin.
According to the National Fire Association, there are more than one million firefighters working in the US of that number, more than 300,000 are career firefighters and more than 700,000 are volunteers.
Winchester officials say Shawnee Fire Company, South End Fire Company, Mount Jackson Rescue & Fire and the Woodstock Fire Department have requested the charitable donation of the SCBA face pieces.
Winchester officials say council agreed to forward the request to the next meeting, where the final decision will be made on July 12th.