Hemet firefighters to update their breathing apparatus

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A Hemet firefighter dons his older breathing apparatus to show Hemet city council how new breathing equipment on order by the Hemet Fire Department will better protect their lives in firefights. Tony Ault photo

The Hemet city council gave their approval to Hemet fire Chief Scott Brown to order 64 new self-contained breathing apparatus and related equipment to better equip his firefighters in live fires at a price of $351,498.77.

The council resolution at its Oct. 22 meeting approving the purchase from All Star Fire Equipment Inc. followed a presentation by Brown and one of his firefighters.

Brown said the equipment will better assure the firefighters they can survive for additional time during life-saving missions in structure fires. The new tanks will offer 45 minutes of breathable oxygen as compared to their current 17-year-old breathing tanks that hold only 30-minutes of air. The older apparatus is still serviceable and will be held in reserve.

He said the new apparatus also includes face masks that allow the firefighter to see an in-mask read-out how many minutes of air they have left at all times and are equipped with longer buddy-breathing hoses. The longer hoses allow one firefighter to assist another whose tank is exhausted to walk out of a fire location by breathing side-by-side without removing the working tank.

“This is another milestone in protecting our firefighters,” Mayor Pro Tem Russ Brown said.

“This is essential for our firefighters,” Mayor Bonnie Wright said, praising Brown for getting a lower cost for the purchase.

Brown said the new equipment will also solve one of the firefighter safety issues criticized through the recent state audit that put the city “at risk in certain areas.”

In other action, the council adopted a resolution approving a three-year software purchase agreement with Cartegraph Systems Inc. for $446,799.43 to renew software licensing, tracking and database management that will be executed by Interim City Manager Christoper Lopez.

The purchases will update many of the cities software that will speed up the city staff activities in all departments and processing engineering and planning applications in a timely manner.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.