For many rural fire departments, aging equipment is a problem.
It can make it hard to for firefighters to help you during an emergency, but one Tri-State fire department is getting a big upgrade.
Volunteer firefighters with the Liberty Fire Protection District are eager to put their new gear to use because the old gear is just that, it’s old.
“They weighed quite a bit more… a little more restricting and really they were just heavy and awkward, big and bulky. not so much fun to wear for a long period of time.,” said firefighter Kyle Weisenberger.
Thanks to a grant from the state fire marshal’s office and several grants from local companies, the district was able to afford the new gear.
“It’s nice to have local businesses contribute to this,” said LIberty Fire Protection District Board President James Pracht. “These individuals that volunteer to help protect the community feel like they are getting some support back form the people they are protecting.”
Pracht said the new gear is lighter and more versatile which benefits a rural volunteer fire department that may not have a large number of firefighters on scene at one time.
“These are very sophisticated units and they got carbon fiber tanks which are lighter and helps keep firefighter fatigue down because carrying around the old metal tanks was a load,” said Pracht.
4 sets of the air tanks are also equipped with thermal imagers. Before, the department only had one.
“One of the biggest thing that we will do is we will search a residence to make sure that its empty. It’s pretty well pitch black and a smoke filled room,” said Weisenberger. “These allow four different firefighters, you could essentially have four different teams of two or more searching a house.”
Firefighters said something else that will make fighting fires a bit easier is these new tanks are also lighter and they are able to change them out on their own rather than having to have someone else do that for them.