New GFD equipment to improve performance

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 28, 2005

In a highly stressful job, like that of a fireperson – one of the ways to ease the person’s mind is to know that the suit they are wearing is top-of-the-line and brand new. Following recent Greenville City Council meetings, the Greenville Fire Department can be sure that will happen. Recently, the city council approved expenditures that enabled the fire fighters to purchase a new pumper truck and also new uniforms.

The truck and equipment that came with it, purchased for $298,990 are manufactured by E1 out of Okala, Fla., and will serve as a first-run engine out of Station 1 behind City Hall.

&uot;This truck is going to replacing one of our older engines,&uot; said Greenville Fire Chief Mike Phillips.

&uot;Whenever we first started looking at purchasing this truck, the city had grown and expanded. ISO ratings are one of the things that we always consider whenever we purchase new equipment.&uot;

The city’s ISO rating helps to determine how much the rate of fire insurance will be in a location.

&uot;We have to meet a certain pumping capacity and this truck will help us meet and maintain that,&uot; said Phillips. &uot;We had to replace some of the breathing apparatus that we had. We had a lot that was obsolete so we actually bought some extra breathing apparatus for other trucks.&uot;

Right now, the new engine has a pumping capacity of 1250 gallons per minute.

Despite the water flow, Phillips said this truck is not that different than the last two that the city has bought.

What is different however is the turnout gear that fire fighters will be donning.

Turnout gear is a firefighter term for the coats and pants that the firemen will be wearing when they arrive on the fire scene. It also what they wear when they make entry.

&uot;Our men are really excited about the turnout gear,&uot; said Phillips. &uot;We’ve always used the very bottom-end equipment and we were able to move up this year to some equipment that has a lot more safety features to it. It gives a lot more protection to the guys and should last a lot longer. I can’t really remember the last time we fitted the whole group in new bunker gear. It’s like Christmas to us.&uot;

The city of Greenville’s Fire Department will be fitted with brand new coats and pants but will still have the same helmets, gloves and boots. Phillips said that those will be replaced on a need-to basis.

He also said that they purchased 21 suits and they will be given to the 21 full-time employees. The volunteers will get the hand-me-down uni’s from the full timers. But Phillips hopes that by 2006 the volunteers will have the opportunity to get new gear as well.

&uot;I think this is going to enhance our ability to do our job better,&uot; said Phillips. &uot;The equipment is only as good as the people that operate it and I think we’ve got some equipment to work with and that will make us more effective.&uot;

The fire truck is already in town and is located at Fire Station No. 1. Phillips expects the turnout gear to be here within a couple of weeks.