Vashon Island Fire & Rescue was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for new equipment.
The grant, for nearly $302,000, will enable the department to replace 42 self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) — air packs that firefighters wear when they enter a structure fire — and 18 additional face masks, according to a department press release.
Such equipment needs to be replaced every 10 years, said interim acting fire chief George Brown, who noted that the old equipment at the department had reached that limit and no longer met current safety standards.
Each SCBA costs nearly $7,000, and additional masks are important so that firefighters do not have to share masks, a practice Brown called unsanitary and unsafe.
The total cost of the new equipment was $317,003. The grant provided all but 5 percent of that cost, leaving the district to provide just $15,095, the news release indicated.
For more information, view www.vashonbeachcomber.com