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$282K grant helps Ore. firefighters buy new SCBA, facepieces with increased thermal protection

North Bend Fire Chief Jim Brown said the department’s current facepieces meet a 21-year-old NFPA standard for thermal protection


North Bend Fire Department/Oregon

The World

NORTH BEND, Ore. — The North Bend Fire Department is thrilled to publicize the receipt of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) amounting to $282,514. This pivotal funding will facilitate the replacement of our aging self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), fortifying our commitment to the safety of our firefighters and the community they proudly serve.

With a local match requirement of $15,361, this federal AFG grant underscores the significance of empowering firefighters and first responders. The goal is to ensure they possess the imperative resources for optimizing their response capabilities and unswervingly safeguarding public health, safety, and the well-being of our emergency personnel amid fires and related dangers.

Fire Chief Jim Brown profoundly reflected on the state of the department’s equipment, “Our current 36 SCBA packs, which have served us for over 15 years, adhere to 2002’s NFPA standards. Regrettably, they don’t meet today’s paramount NFPA standards in three crucial facets: facepiece heat resistance, low air notifications, and voice amplification.”

Chief Brown extended his heartfelt gratitude to the federal authorities and said, “Our unwavering allies, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, have consistently championed the cause of first responders. Their enduring federal advocacy ensures that our brave firefighters are aptly armed and poised to safeguard every Oregonian. This grant underscores that profound commitment.”

The grant ensures a comprehensive upgrade, encompassing all SCBA packs, spare bottles, and masks to the current NFPA standards, leveraging the most advanced technology for safeguarding our first responders.

Chief Brown elaborated on the pressing need for the upgrade: “Presently, our facepieces align with the NFPA 2002 edition, which requires a two-hundred-degree five-minute test under a ten-second direct flame. But contemporary standards mandate a more stringent five-hundred-degree test. The SCBA facepiece, in its existing state, is our most vulnerable protective equipment against thermal threats. Elevating our SCBA to meet today’s standards has been a pressing priority. The realization of this imperative upgrade would have been elusive without this indispensable federal support.

The overarching objective of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant is to cater to the diverse needs of fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service entities. As of August 11, 2023, FEMA’s profound commitment to this cause is evident in their allocation of 1,159 awards, cumulatively amounting to $205 million. These awards are pivotal in equipping our firefighters and first responders with vital equipment, gear, vehicles, training, and resources to shield the community and emergency personnel from fire-related perils.

The North Bend Fire Department remains steadfast in its commitment to serving the community with professionalism, dedication, and excellence. Through continuous training, best practices, and community engagement, we strive to ensure the safety and well-being of all North Bend residents.

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