Muscatine Fire Department staff have assembled and started training with 41 new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air packs.
The air packs were purchased after the Muscatine City Council approved a grant awarded to the Muscatine Fire Department for the new SCBA on Aug. 20, a news release says.
The Fire Department was notified Aug. 12 that the department had been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for $260,909.90. The grant allowed for the purchase the air packs, with the city’s share $26,090.91.
The current stock of SCBA used by the fire department was purchased in 2001 with an Assistance to Firefighters Grant. Those packs are useable but out of date with current technology, and with the devices used by other mutual-aid departments. The old packs are harder to maintain because parts are no longer produced.
The fire department had tried to secure a grant for the last several years to help pay for the new air packs, but, until this year, was unsuccessful in the highly competitive grant market.
The department had budgeted $212,500 to replace 20 of the 42 SCBAs with another 20 to be included in the 2021/2022 budget if grants were unavailable.
Battalion Chief Gary Ronzheimer wrote the latest grant application submitted under the Grant Programs Directorate’s Fiscal Year 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grants program of the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) in the United States Department of Homeland Security.
FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants provide funding for essentials that firefighters and first responders need to be safe and effective on the job.