CKFR yanks old tanks for modern gear

Looking at years of expensive repair costs for its aging equipment, Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue officials opted to buy new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and air tanks for each of its volunteer and career firefighters.

Lt. Dave Olsen, who helped spearhead the replacement project, said most of the current equipment the firefighters have been using was purchased 15 years ago and repairing it and replacing all of the 30-minute air bottles was a waste of department resources. Air bottles can only be used for 15 years before they must be replaced under federal safety standards.

So he suggested replacing all the SCBA equipment and upgrading to high-pressure 45-minute bottles with high-tech airmasks which contain a visible bottle meter and a voice amplifier from Mine Safety Appliances.

“With the 45-minute bottles we’re buying ourselves more time,” Olsen said.

Chief Ken Burdette agreed, saying “It’s definitely state of the art and what we had before was outdated.”

Burdette signed off on a lease-purchase agreement for the $500,000 worth of gear which he said saves the department money in the long run.

Bremerton and Federal fire departments also use the same equipment.

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