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Firefighters get back equipment that was repossessed

The department lost their SCBAs back in August when the city could not pay for them


John Adam
The Progress-Index

PETERSBURG, Va. — A small part of the large burden that is placed on Petersburg's firefighters was made a little lighter last week as the department announced that they had obtained special pieces of breathing equipment. The same equipment was repossessed by vendors back in August when the city couldn't make payments on them.

"It's actually called an SCBA, or self contained breathing apparatus," said Deputy Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant. "It enables firefighters to breathe in a smoky, heated environment."

The pieces include tanks with compressed air and oxygen, as well as masks to cover the firefighters faces. The tanks and mask weigh about 25 pounds.

A special grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) enabled the department to buy 53 pieces of the breathing equipment. Sturdivant noted that the firefighters are currently being retrained on how to use the tanks and masks.

"Since it had been quite a few months, the guys are currently going through the training again," he said.

The training includes an online course from the manufacturer, as well as special drills and evolutions that are set up by the department. Technicians are also being trained to fix any pieces that might break while in use. The firefighters should be ready to use the equipment by early June.

Since the equipment was repossessed last year, the department was not without the equipment, but was forced to rely on older versions.

Copyright 2017 The Progress-Index

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