AFD to purchase $880k in new high-tech breathing equipment

The new personal breathing apparatuses come built in with sensors to monitor the condition of firefighters.

— The Albany Fire Department will spend $880,000 upgrading a 15-year-old piece of equipment officials say is vital to fighting fires and protecting firefighters.

Approved by the voters through the passage of Special Local Option Sales Tax VI, the AFD is set to replace its stock of personal breathing apparatuses which, Assistant Chief Allen Cravey says, have reached the end of their recommended life cycle.

"We bought the ones we have now in 1997 and 15 years is really the maximum that this equipment is rated for," Cravey said.

At nearly $4,400 per unit, the new breathing apparatuses come at a hefty price, but Cravey said that, over the last 15 years, the standards adopted by national fire authorities have risen, with more high-tech safety and communications capabilities required in the units.

The new units, Cravey said, will have a firefighter alert system that will beep if the firefighter stays still for more than 30 or 45 seconds. Cravey also said that the units come with a communication ability that will allow those commanding a fire response to monitor air levels for each individual firefighter and would allow the commanders to send evacuation orders to those engaged in fighting a fire remotely.

"This equipment is probably the most vital piece of equipment that a modern firefighter has," Cravey said. "Without it, they wouldn't be able to go into burning buildings. So when equipment like that is so important, you want to make sure that you have quality gear."



Sister_Ruby 3 years, 10 months ago

Let's see.........$880,000 divided by $4,400 per unit equals.............200 units? We need 200 units? How many people are going into a fire at the same time? Is there anything big enough to have 200 firefighters at risk at the same time? It seems like we could do with 20 units for $88,000 total. Right?


BigEd 3 years, 10 months ago

Its not just one mask one tank per unit, each requires several additional bottles of air. You might be surprised how fast you can 'use' a tank of air in turnout gear at an actual fire. One life saved would far outway this cost


Abytaxpayer 3 years, 10 months ago

Sister I see what you are saying..... But lets look at it another way….. Just for argument sake(lets use round numbers) lets say this equipment only last for 10 years and not the 15 year the old equipment was in service. So lets say the $4,400 per unit is divided by 10 years = $440.oo per year divided by 365 days = $1.20 cost per day per unit. Now if my house was on fire and for less than $1.20 each fireman that day was equipped with this new equipment and everyone in my house and all the firemen got out safely, well I for one would be glad AFD spent the money. I hope the firemen have little use for this new equipment, but remembering some of the fires this last year alone I know the Families involved as well as the Firemen involved are glad to see this new equipment that could help save lives.


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