New air packs make Golden Fire Department compatible with mutual aid partners

The Golden Fire Department is suiting up with new air packs, providing the team with life saving breathing packs.

Over the years, the previous supply of air packs began to dwindle, as they broke down, became unserviceable, out of date, and non compliant with the National Fire Protection Agency.

In September, Town of Golden council approved both the capital expenditure and short term borrowing, authorizing the award supply of SCBAs and air cylinders to Rocky Mountain Phoenix for the equipment costs. Originally, a maximum of $254,704 was approved, but the actual cost came in at $192,864.29 including PST but not GST. The Municipal Finance Authority Equipment Financing Program allowed the Town of Golden to borrow up to $193,000. Under the program, the Town of Golden will own the equipment.

The new air packs have been in service for a few weeks now, and deputy Chief Mike Pecora says he is happy knowing that his firefighters have proper and safe breathing apparatus to help them do the best job they can.

“We replaced every pack in the hall,” he said. “The safety features in them and technology in them puts us over and above any fire department just about anywhere… The safety features on these are second to none.”

The air packs include a thermal imaging camera built right in, which is like a heat-seeking camera that helps firefighters in search and rescue and body recovery. The packs also include Bluetooth and WiFi, which helps track which firefighters are wearing the packs, where they are, what their air levels are, and what temperature they are at.

The packs are a necessary part of fighting a fire. If any more had broken down, Golden Fire Rescue would not have been able to fight fires properly.

“We were getting to a point where if any more of our packs went down and we didn’t replace them, we would be fighting the fire from outside of the house,” Pecora said.

Over the summer, Golden Fire Rescue assessed their equipment, and realized they were at half capacity for how many air packs were needed. Pecora is also the department’s Risk Management Officer, and as part of the new role, he has assessed the department’s equipment to ensure it is up to proper standards. Over the past few months, he and his team discovered the dire situation of the air packs.

“We didn’t really have anybody that was monitoring this stuff on a regular basis,” Pecora said, adding that in his 18 years on the department, he had always hated the old packs. “They would freeze up and jam in the winter.”

Now, Golden Fire Rescue is compatible with mutual aid partners like the Nicholson Fire Department, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, and more. Each department uses similar packs, making training easier and more fluid.

The department is constantly training with their mutual aid partners, getting the best education to service the needs of Golden and the surrounding area.

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