The Spokane Valley Fire Department is going high tech with new air packs that include several features to improve firefighter safety and make the gear easier to use and clean.
“Our air packs were 12 years old,” said Battalion Chief Ken Capaul. “They met a NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standard that was 10 years old.”
The new packs, produced by Pennsylvania-based MSA, meet 2019 standards. “These have already passed,” he said. “These are the most current packs on the market today.”
The new masks that come with the packs are slimmed down and roughly a pound lighter, which can make a big difference for firefighters if they spend several hours in their gear fighting a fire. “It’s much more streamlined,” said Capt. Joe Schindler. “All the stuff is on the inside instead of the outside.”
There’s also a voice-amplified speaker worn on the left arm, which should reduce garbled radio transmissions that are sometimes a problem.