Wednesday, January 26, 2022

York County gets funding for new life-saving air compressor

York County Fire & Life Safety crews on the scene of a fire in December, 2017. (WYDaily/Courtesy York County Fire & Life Safety)
York County Fire & Life Safety crews on the scene of a fire in December 2017. (WYDaily/Courtesy York County Fire & Life Safety)

Just three months after York County broke ground on the new Fire Station No. 1, there’s another perk on its way: brand new life-saving equipment.

On Monday, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $43,637 in federal funding for the York County Department of Fire & Life Safety, which will replace a 20-year-old air compressor.

The compressor will be used at York County’s new Fire Station No. 1, which broke ground in May and is expected to be completed next summer.

The compressor has been used frequently both at fire scenes and during training to fill the self-contained breathing apparatus that firefighters use when working in dangerous conditions, York County Fire Chief Stephen Kopczynski said.

“[The apparatus] is a critical component of personal protective equipment that protects our respiratory system in high-heat, smoke-filled and/or other toxic environments,” Kopczynski said. “It is also used to fill air tanks for our divers, and the mobile systems on our rescue trucks that fill the bottles and tanks at emergency scenes.”

York County applied for the funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s nationwide Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. Localities that received funding were notified Friday in an announcement on the FEMA grant website.

The grant program aims to increase safety of the public and firefighters by giving grant funding for fire departments, emergency medical services providers and state fire-training agencies.

Kopczynski said the air compressor is now functioning and has passes all air-quality certifications, but is nearing the end of its service life. As equipment gets older, it is less reliable, requires more maintenance and could become more costly to maintain.

The compressor will ensure the lower end of the county, where Fire Station No. 1 is being built, can have reliable air for firefighters. The compressor will be purchased and installed as the fire station construction nears completion in summer 2019.

“We are very fortunate to have received it,” Kopcyzynski said.

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Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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