Southern California departments may lose federal grants for SCBAs

A California Superior Court judge has set aside a contract for 4,200 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units and related equipment, potentially endangering $9.5 million in federal grants for firefighting equipment in southern California.

Ruling on a petition filed by Allstar Fire Equipment, a distributor for Scott Health and Safety Equipment, and by Mine Safety Appliances (MSA), the court set a hearing date to discuss the terms of the judgment for November 17, just days before a November 28 deadline requiring area fire departments to take delivery of the SCBAs or risk losing their grant funding. Smaller departments with older equipment that rely heavily on federal funding will be particularly hard hit.

The suit was filed against Los Angeles County, the city of Los Angeles, and L.N. Curtis & Sons, a distributor for Sperian Fire SCBAs. Both Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles are members of SCAPPEC, the Southern California Area Personal Protective Equipment Consortium, a consortium formed by 32 area fire departments to jointly purchase state-of-the-art, interchangeable equipment.

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