MSA, DuPont, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) have awarded new turnout gear to two additional departments through MSA’s Globe Gear Giveaway. A total of 13 departments will each receive four new sets of state-of-the-art turnouts in 2019 to help them increase the safety of their firefighters.
To be eligible to apply, departments had to be all-volunteer or mostly-volunteer, serve a population of 25,000 or less, be legally organized in the U.S. or Canada, demonstrate a need for the gear, and be a member of the NVFC. To help departments meet this last requirement, MSA sponsored NVFC memberships for the first 500 applicants.
The latest recipients to receive the gear are Salcha (AK) Fire & Rescue and Kenduskeag (ME) Fire Rescue.
Salcha (AK) Fire & Rescue
Salcha Fire & Rescue is located about 40 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska, next to the Salcha and Tanana Rivers. The department prides itself in being “professionally staffed by volunteers since 1982.” Volunteers are trained at both Firefighter I and Emergency Medical Technician II, protecting 2,400 people over 350 square miles. A tight budget, along with care and maintenance costs of hand-me-down equipment and gear, leaves no room to purchase new turnouts for its crew.
While all 35 of the department’s responders have gear, it has been donated from other departments, most of which are over 15 years old. Gear that is over 10 years old is considered noncompliant with recommended safety standards. The department uses this gear for primary response.
“Our goal is to provide safe gear for our volunteer responders,” said Chief Ernest Misewicz. This donation will help them to achieve that goal.
Kenduskeag (ME) Fire Rescue
Kenduskeag Fire Rescue protects a population of 1,338 over nearly 17 miles in Penobscot County, Maine. Its 11 active volunteers are trained at First Aid/CPR and Basic Firefighter and respond to an estimated 160 calls each year. The department has been striving to improve its operations, ensuring its fleet is equipped properly and operating safely, which leaves no funding to outfit their firefighters with compliant and efficient gear. Only three sets of their gear are less than 10 years old and meet national safety standards. The department strives to ensure the safety of its responders, particularly mitigating cancer risks by properly cleaning gear after each call. However, this often leaves the department out of service after a fire until the gear is again ready for response. Additionally, the department has had to turn potential recruits away because of the lack of gear and the inability to purchase new gear that will keep them safe on a call.
“These four sets of gear [will] go a long way to cement morale and make the best use of all who apply to our department, ergo creating a more safe and efficient public service,” said Deputy Chief Matthew Nadeau.
Additional awards in MSA’s 2019 Globe Gear Giveaway will be made monthly through December. Stay tuned to the NVFC web site, Dispatch newsletter, and Facebook page, as well as the Globe Facebook page, for announcements. The program began in 2012 and to-date has donated much-needed turnout gear to nearly 100 fire departments.