Some shocking news for several fire departments left them scrambling earlier this year, around budget time, to make room for a costly equipment replacement due to the company who made the essential breathing apparatus no longer manufacture nor recertify the equipment.  

Morden Fire and Rescue Chief Andy Thiessen has some good news. 

"I'm happy to say that we've gotten some new breathing apparatus in the fire hall. We've had some training on it. Unfortunately, we've had an opportunity to use them a couple of times already, but that's what they're there for and we're very happy with what we've received, other than having to pay for them." 

The price tag came in at $181, 000 for 19 units, with one more to be added by the end of the year.  

One firefighter wearing the mask.

He said there are some different features on the new equipment.  

"There are a couple, yes, mainly in the communication side of it and also in, what is called, the Buddy Breather. If one firefighter runs out of air, the other that has more sufficient air can tap into his system and then the two of them can breathe and get themselves out of that situation. So that that's something that we didn't have with our old packs."  

For Thiessen, there is one feature that he is very pleased with.  

"It's a program called Clean Cab, and it's something we use to clean the gear that takes away the carcinogens that cause cancers for us. The cleaning mobility of these masks is unbelievable. We used to have to tear our masks all apart to clean them and then put them back together. This is just soaked down, rinse off, and let them dry, and you're ready to go. That's going to be a huge weight off of my mind, knowing the guys' breathing masks are gonna be clean all the time. That's key for me." 

A firefighter putting the breathing apparatus in the truck.

Thiessen said a training session was held for the fire fighters to learn about some of these things and a few differences between the new and the old ones. 

"They like it. It's going to take a while to get used to them. You have to break some habits that you've had with the other one that you've used for 10 years and now a different way of putting them on, different hookups, that kind of thing, but the initial response is that they're very pleased with them."  

He said the team used the equipment for a car fire and a small structure fire, nothing too major, but it helped them get practice using the new techniques they learned and will get used to as time goes on. 

Fire fighters learning how to use the new equipment.