Martin Fire Dept. requests upgraded breathing masks after 2 fail in training

MARTIN, Tenn. — One local fire department is getting a much needed upgrade to help protect their firefighters.

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 11.31.15 AMThey may seem scary when you first see them, but the firefighters’ air masks are essential to firefighting.

“The SCBAs, which stand for self-contained breathing apparatuses, the devices that we use to allow us to breathe inside of a dangerous atmosphere,” Martin Fire Chief Jamie Summers said.

Chief Summers says that they fight most fires with these masks, including home fires, car fires and dumpster fires.

“These devices seal around our face and allows us to breathe air from the bottle instead of the atmosphere,” he said.

The current breathing apparatuses are more than 10 years old, and not one but two have failed during training exercises.

“Thought it would be the best to just go out and purchase the equipment for the city, because safety is our main concern when we send someone going on a fire scene,” Martin Mayor Randy Brundige said.

The city board originally applied for a grant to replace the 22 masks but recently learned they didn’t receive it. Now the city is planning to buy the new equipment, which will feature the latest safety technology.

“We don’t want to put anyone’s life in jeopardy as these older units could do because they could fail at any time, so we thought it best. Money you can always replace, but a life you can’t,” the mayor said.

The Martin city board will vote Monday on whether to purchase the new masks. The mayor said in their informal meeting Tuesday night the decision to purchase the masks was unanimous. They will cost around $115,000.

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