More than half a million dollars will breathe new life into some of the most critical safety equipment used by Maple Ridge's firefighters.
Council has approved spending $620,000 on new self-contained breathing apparatus for close to a hundred career and paid-on-call firefighters, explained chief Dane Spence.
"From a life-safety perspective, it's probably the most vital apparatus a firefighter is equipped with," he said.
Money has been set aside for the past three years in preparation for "this major purchase" of 86 complete units, spare cylinders, masks, and associated equipment.
The existing equipment was bought back in the mid-1990s, and typically needs to be replaced in 15 years, but a series of upgrades extended the life span so they could instead plan for a "wholesale change-out."
While it's more convenient that the equipment is standardized for training purposes, it's critical from a safety perspective, Spence explained. Firefighters need to feel confident, when they grab their gear and head into life-threatening situations, that there is no question on how to operate that piece, he said.
"This is such an essential part of the equipment that the firefighters shouldn't have to think when they reach for a device - they should all be the same," Spence said.
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