One local fire department hopes to improve the safety of its volunteers in order to improve the chances of saving lives. The Oconee County Fire and Rescue Department is asking for more than $150,000 in extra funds, to update some of their breathing devices. These breathing devices aid the volunteers when they have to go into a fire, battle through the smoke, and do their job. The department currently uses Avon breathing devices for training and first responders, but they are trying to update the devices to new apparatuses that can hold twice the amount of air. That’s important, because that means firefighters have the ability to stay in a fire twice as long.
Volunteer firefighter Mike Link has worked at the Oconee County fire station for 43 years, and he thinks the update is a much needed one.
“It’s a safety issue in that having two different pressurized tanks. Somebody could accidentally turn on the lower pressure tanks on the air compressor, and the tank could explode if it needed to”.
Chief Deputy Bruce Thaxtom has requested thirty six updated breathing devices. Each device costs almost $5,000. Chief Thaxton has requested the funds for this update from a 2015 special purpose tax.