Sperian Respiratory Protection has been selected a second time for a multimillion-dollar contract to supply self-contained breathing apparatus to the Los Angeles County Fire Department and possibly other nearby departments.
A notice of intent to award the contract to Sperian’s Los Angeles distributor, L.N. Curtis & Sons, was issued by Los Angeles County officials last month. The $12 million contract calls for 1,650 units, but other departments are expected to buy off the same contract.
Steve Weinstein, Sperian’s senior SCBA product manager, said the company estimates the contract may be worth as much as $20 million. “We are very pleased that once again the Los Angeles County Fire Department has chosen the Sperian Warrior as the SCBA of the future,” he said.
The first contract last June for 4,000 units was also awarded to L.N. Curtis & Sons, but it was nullified by a California judge after it was challenged in court by Allstar Fire Equipment of Arcadia, Calif., a distributor for Scott Health & Safety, and by MSA. Allstar and MSA argued the selection process was unfair because Los Angeles County officials did not follow their own rules or the law.
Judge James Chalfant found that the selection process was flawed, in part because SCBA performance evaluations by firefighters were discounted by members of an oversight committee. He ordered Los Angeles County officials to either reevaluate the bids or to start over.
In the first case Los Angeles County was acting on behalf of a consortium of more than 30 fire departments in the area. In the second round of bidding this year, Los Angeles County was acting only on behalf of its fire department, but other departments are able to purchase off the contract.
In both cases just four of the six SCBA manufacturers who have units certified to National Fire Protection Association standards submitted bids, Sperian, Scott, MSA and Interspiro.
This year’s bidding was for a three-year contract with three one-year options to order additional equipment at the quoted prices. Delivery of the initial 1,650 units is to be made within 60 days of the contract award.
Sperian’s respiratory division, formerly known as Survivair, is based in Santa Ana, just south of Los Angeles. Seven fire departments in the original consortium used Survivair SCBA, including the two largest departments, Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County.