Sooke council approves gear for firefighters

District approvs $70,400 towards new gear which interim fire chief Russ Cameron called “critical replacement equipment.”

Sooke Fire and Rescue Service will begin to take delivery of much-needed equipment replacements later this year.

District councillors approved $70,400 towards new gear which interim fire chief Russ Cameron called “critical replacement equipment.”

“[These] five items are not frivolous items. If you don’t start addressing these now you will be faced with being out of service in two years or a very large bill all at once,” Cameron told councillors last week.

Equipment on the fire department’s shopping list:

• Self-contained breathing apparatus ($9,600) – This is the most critical item needed, said Cameron. The breathing equipment makes up part of a firefighter’s personal protective equipment. Several units need replacing.

• Self-contained breathing apparatus complete units ($49,000) – The department has the minimum required units to meet operational needs. All units are 14 years old and maintenance costs are starting to increase.

• Ventilations saws ($5,000) – Two are needed. The saws are used for cutting through roof membranes and walls.

• Chainsaws ($2,000) – Two are required. Chainsaws are used for many situations from traditional wood cutting for emergency operations during wind storms to cutting openings in structures for suppression operations.

• Ventilation fans ($4,800) – The fire department needs to replace one of two 20-year-old ventilation fans.

The equipment replacement program is the first prong in a multiyear replacement program, Cameron said.

“This has been prepared in the context of moving forward with a staged or graduate purchase plan of some critical equipment required immediately, as well as over the next five years to manage department needs and available funding,” he said.

“We’re pushing some of this out now to make it financially palatable, and get the equipment in a timely fashion with updated technology.”

The equipment will be bought through the fire department’s budget reserve fund.