POCONO TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Dozens of pieces of firefighting equipment line the wall inside the Pocono Township Volunteer Fire Company.
But now, thanks to a $200,000 grant, 27 new breathing apparatuses have been added to the wall.
The air packs, also called SCBA’s, are worn on a firefighter’s back and connect to a mask that goes over the mouth and face; ready to use in life-threatening situations.
Michael McMann, the First Assistant Fire Chief at Pocono Township Volunteer Fire Department tells Eyewitness News the various situations where the new gear can be vital.
“Structure fires, your car fires, your hazardous material situations. Anything where the atmosphere doesn’t have enough oxygen or has too much oxygen.”
The new packs are lighter to carry and have technology that allows officials to track and send messages to firefighters; a new lifesaving feature that McMann says is more reliable than their current radio communication and use of truck horns.
“Well, being in a fire, it’s loud. You’re distracted. Now, you have it right there in front of you on the face piece that tells you, ‘it’s time to get out.”
Eyewitness News spoke to Jerrod Belvin, a township commissioner who says this grant has been worked on for nearly two years.
“With supply chain issues, everything is just taking longer. We’re having the same issues with public works at the moment, but generally, an LSA grant from start to finish would be about eight months, so this is a long time in the making.”
The new gear is now ready to be put to the test by those on the front lines.
“We are extremely lucky to have such a robust fire company. This Pocono Township Volunteer Fire Company will get called to Carbon County, Kidder Township, and they have a RIT team, which is you know one of the few in the county,” says Belvin.
The Pocono Township Volunteer Fire Company is looking to recruit more volunteers. Those interested can stop by the fire station in Tannersville on Wednesday nights.