Galesburg Fire Department Receives Grant for New Gear

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The Galesburg Fire Department (GFD) was recently approved for a 2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).  AFG grants are awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by the Department of Homeland Security.  This grant, facilitated by GFD Captain Matt Cain, totals $146, 470 of which 90% ($133, 154) will be funded by FEMA.  The City of Galesburg will fund the remaining 10% at a cost of $13,315. 

The revenue will be used to purchase 20 new SCBA and additional face masks that will replace the department’s existing equipment that does not meet current standards on firefighter respiratory systems and safety.  

The first rudimentary breathing mask for firefighters was designed in 1825 by Giovanni Aldini.  Prior to that, firefighters grew long beards and soaked them in water to act as a filter prior to entering smoke-filled structures.  In 1863, James Braidwood designed the first self-contained breathing apparatus, a contraption of two rubber-lined canvas bags filled with air from a bellows and sealed with a wooden cork.  Over the last 150 years, technology has allowed firefighters to get deeper into burning structures to save lives and extinguish fires, a practice that has, unfortunately, put today’s firefighters more at risk. 

New designs incorporate a variety of safety features including electronic voice amplification, buddy breathing connections, low air alarm signals, visual displays on the inside of the mask, and motion sensors that send an audible signal when a firefighter has been incapacitated.  

***Report Courtesy of the City of Galesburg***

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