The volunteer firefighters at Madison Hose Co. No. 1 have many things to think about when they are fighting a fire. But now they have one less thing to worry about. They recently took delivery on brand new Scott Air-Paks.
An air-pak, also known as a self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA, provides the firefighter with a supply of breathable air in situations where the outside air poses an immediate danger to life or health. The Scott Air-Paks include a high pressure air tank, a face mask, and a carrying frame so that the pack can be worn like a backpack.
Madison Hose Co. No. 1 Fire Chief Bobby Kyttle said he was thrilled to take delivery on the new packs, because they provide interoperability with the packs worn by the town's other fire department, the North Madison Volunteer Fire Department, or NoMads, as well as Guilford, Branford, Clinton and other surrounding towns. That means that if someone's mask breaks while fighting a fire, or if their tank malfunctions, it is easier for all of the firefighters to work as a team to address that problem.
Kyttle said the lack of interoperability was always a concern during large fire events, such as the recent fire downtown that required mutual aid from several area fire departments. Kyttle said his firefighters, who were wearing packs that were 20 years old, did have the option of using a Rapid Intervention Pack if there was a problem, but that, in the case of a problem, it's always better to have more options rather than less when it comes to the safety of the volunteer firefighters.
"They are our lifeline," said Kyttle of the air-paks.
The air-paks were paid for with an appropriation of $282,224 from the town, said Madison Director of Finance Stacy Nobitz.