The York County Department of Fire and Life Safety will be getting new personal protective equipment and emergency communications radio to improve not only the safety of the crew but their efficiency as well.
The department issued a request for funds for both purchases through the county. Each request was placed in the Board of Supervisors’ consent calendar as an individual item for their Sept. 1 meeting.
Board members approved the consent calendar unanimously.
Fire and Life Safety is currently using portable subscriber radios bought 16 years ago. The radios were state-of-the-art at the time, but now they are significantly outdated with an estimated lifespan of 10 years.
The new radios will be bought through an existing negotiated contract with Motorola Solutions. These radios can filter out background noise, a function that is especially crucial when firefighters are working in noisy environments and need to communicate efficiently, officials said.
They are also waterproof and have large buttons and knobs, making them easier to use while wearing protective gloves.
Terry Hall, director of emergency communications, spoke on behalf of Fire and Life Safety. Hall runs the regional emergency radio system, which includes areas in York County.
“Everytime a firefighter goes into a building, and they’re using water, well they’re going to come out wet and so will the radio. So this brings us to a current state of the art that will last us for another 10 plus years,” he said at Tuesday night’s meeting.
As for the new personal protective equipment, they have no relation to COVID-19 prevention. The Department of Fire and Life Safety issues required fire retardant/flash suits for use during technical rescue situations, hazardous materials incidents, and fire investigations, officials said.
The current suits vary from 18 to 25 years in age, are worn out, and losing fire retardant ability.
The new suits are more lightweight and less bulky, making it easier for personnel to maneuver around. They will provide an appropriate level of protection while reducing heat stress and exposure to harmful carcinogens.
The cost for the PPE is $83,400, while the new radios will cost exactly $655,357.19, according to each item’s individual memorandum.
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