Winston-Salem firefighters ask for $600K to replace gear from 1998

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Winston-Salem Fire Department is asking city council members to approve spending more than $600,000 on new air packs.

The current equipment, purchased in 1998, is raising safety concerns due to deterioration from long term heat exposure.

New packs will come with updated safety features that allow crews to fight fires more effectively and also bolster firefighter safety; an improved voice system, greater air capacity and technology to better help locate firefighters in trouble.

Some of the department’s face-masks, one component of the packs, have been pulled out of service because firefighters can’t through them.

According to documents from Winston-Salem’s Finance Committee, the current air packs are no longer in compliance with the National Fire Protection Association’s 2013 standards which took effect August 31st.

That means individual components of packs can no longer be replaced. WSFD says the equipment won’t be usable in 2015.

Station 5 Captain Nick Golden says the new equipment also come with extended warranties which would allow the department to save on repair costs.

The plan to replace the aging equipment was initiated three years ago.

WSFD says the first phase of the project will include 365 new face masks and over 69 complete air packs.

The $627,049 request has already been included in this year’s capital budget, according to WSFD.

Winston-Salem’s Finance Committee approved the request this week, which will now go to city council members for final approval on Monday.

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