Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Perhaps one of the most essential pieces of equipment in a fire district’s inventory is the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus unit. The pack enables a firefighter to enter a burning building, fight a wind driven wildfire spewing dense smoke and work an emergency scene involving hazardous material.
Nederland Fire Protection District assistant chief Ryan Roberts says that not only were the department’s SBCAs outdated, but there weren’t enough of them, so he went after a grant through the State of Colorado Department of Public Safety to obtain more.
“The cap was $100,000 and I asked for $999,640 and got it, which was fortunate, but is still only half of what we need,” says Roberts.
The grant money paid for 15 new Packs at $6,600 apiece including the frame and a spare air bottle.
NFPD chief Rick Dirr says, “I am proud of what Ryan did. We have also recently received two snowmobiles donated by Boulder County. We are grateful for their benevolence, which will increase our ability to be more effective in winter rescues.”
The fire district relies on grants and donations to stay up to date on equipment and resources. Roberts says that only 20 grants have been awarded in the state in the last two years and last year, after researching what was needed to be replaced, he found that the grant needed no match. Roberts has also written successful grants for bunker gear and for two free fire trucks, worth about half a million dollars.
“We are now compatible with Sugarloaf and Timberline Fire Protection Districts. Our SCBA equipment was different. Now all three districts have the same interchangeable air bottles. It was so incredible to win them. They are one of the most expensive pieces of equipment, next to a truck.”
The snowmobiles were obtained in February and the SCBA’s arrived last Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
So far this year, three new volunteers have joined the department, but Chief Dirr says they still need more people to give the best service to the community.