Jacksonville, Florida, donates SCBAs
The 1998 Florida wildfires indirectly led the city of Jacksonville, Florida, to donate 118 Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department self-contained breathing apparatus to the Florida Fire Chiefs Association to be distributed to smaller career and volunteer stations in the state.
More than a year ago, explains Gordon Speed, public information officer for Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, the Florida Fire Chiefs Association requested surplus equipment that could be distributed to smaller career and volunteer stations that did not have the money to purchase them. Although Jacksonville was in a good position to aid in this request, Speed notes, city regulations stood in the way. “Like many other counties and municipalities, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department could only sell surplus equipment to try to recoup as much money as possible.”
In 1995, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue switched from low-pressure (2,200-psi 30-minute bottles) to high-pressure (4,500-psi 45-minute bottles) and sold off a large number of the low-pressure units. After the initial sale, 118 units and a large quantity of spare parts remained in storage.
The Florida wildfires called to attention the equipment needs of the smaller counties. “Some of the smaller counties were trying to combat major fires without being adequately equipped,” observes Jacksonville Fire Chief Ray Alfred. Jacksonville Mayor John A. Delaney and the Jacksonville City Council removed the obstacles to making the donation, estimated to be valued at more than $165,000.
Ownership of the 118 SCBA was transferred from Jacksonville to Chief Richard Knoff of the Florida Fire Chiefs Association the beginning of September. The SCBA will be hydrostatically tested and recertified for use. The Florida Fire Chiefs will then make the SCBA available to smaller state career and volunteer stations through an application process.