Silver Lake FD facing need to replace breathing equipment

silver-lake-fd-doorThe Silver Lake Fire Department needs to replace all of its breathing equipment that firefighters wear when inside burning buildings, Chief Andrew McFarlane told the Silver Lake Village Board Wednesday evening.

The bottles that hold the air for the current equipment can no longer be re-certified the department recently learned, McFarlane said. The equipment was purchased in 1998, after a  fire that destroyed the fire station and most of its contents.

McFarlane has received bids for $84,000 and $134,000 to replace the equipment. McFarlane said he favored the lower bid because it also would include enough additional air bottles for the department’s needs.

“I know, it’s a shock,” McFarlane said.

Village Board members quickly acknowledged there was no money readily available for such a large purchase.

“There’s really no money in the budget to do this,” said Trustee David Snow, a former lieutenant on the village fire department. “But the thing is this basically shuts down our fire department.”

McFarlane, who became chief last summer, said in the short term the equipment is still usable, but he is not willing to risk continuing to use it when it cannot be re-certified.

Board members discussed funding the purchase through a loan. If a loan is pursued, there was discussion of including the cost of the planned addition of living quarters to the fire station. The quarters are needed to house out-of-town firefighters who may begin staffing the station. The living quarters project budget is $50,000, McFarlane said.

The board did not act on the matter because policy calls for a purchase of this amount to have three bids. McFarlane said he expected a third bid to be available very soon.

Snow said the air packs issue is another example of the lack of long-term planning regarding the department.

“We’ve got to start putting together long-term plans,” Snow said.

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6 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    You take only the money necessary to fight fires. Leave the living quarters alone for now.

  2. jackson says:

    True however staffing the station literally 24hrs a day is also a fabulous idea. Meaning they can start bringing in more members out of town like andy said. I’m for this! More members updated station and equipment i think that’s great! This is 2013 not the oldschool fireman mentality anymore this is a great thing and WE support them!!

  3. Dave says:

    Living quarters for what? YOu run what maybe 50 actual FIRE calls a year, and the first responder calls you run arent even effective because rescue still gets there first. Silver lake is too small for full time staffed department. You guys are kidding your selves. Im not saying this to be mean, i am a brother firefighter that volunteers on a neighboring department, but come on people. If the village wants a staffed more effective means of protection they should have jumped on board with the salem merger when they had the chance. I cant believe any one even has the balls to bring this to the board. While i agree this is not old school fire fighting anymore you have to have the calls to back it up. I would love to be a fulltimer in my town but it will never happen. Silver Lake Fire is the victim of a bad past village board who didnt take fire protection and safety seriously.

  4. Pat Wilson says:

    This is really a joke, isn’t it? Does this spending ever stop? Where is the gold a the end of the rainbow? The village appears to reward the department that does the least. The rest of the departments are rubbing nickels together to see if they will grow and SLFD can’t stop spending. This is a disease.

  5. Sandy says:

    I agree. They have been asking for a lot of money over the last few months. The problem is this is all catch up from being neglected for so many years. The previous boards did not plan ahead after the fire to continue to put away funds for this very reason. Instead they robbed peter to pay paul and now we are ALL paying the price. I think they need to ask for the necessities, and maybe not 20 packs right now, maybe 10. I think they don’t know how to ask for partial equipment, which would get them thru for another year or so and spread the spending out over a couple years. This way, all that stuff won’t come due again at the same time, just recreating the problem down the road. Hopefully the board will get that message across to them and they can find ways to meet somewhere in the middle!!!

  6. Bernard Punsley says:

    Pat…providing the firefighters with air packs so they can run into burning buildings without frying their lungs is a “joke”? Wow. I’m guessing you probably think the SLPD officers shouldn’t get to wear bullet proof vests and have bullets in their guns either. Wouldn’t want to “reward” those cops for protecting our village now, would we?! Fire lost virtually ALL of it’s equipment 15 years ago when the fire station burned up. It was replaced, OK. So that means without replacing equipment on some type of schedule, everything they use today is 15 years old. Standards change, some of their equipment is obsolete, some of it is downrigth unsafe to use. Should some type of replacement schedule have been in place over the years, absolutely. Do you see the PD driving around in 15 year old squads, or using 15 year old computers? Nah, didn’t think so. The Ad Hoc Commitee attempted to address some of these issues….we all know what happened to their recommendations, and who was behind that subterfuge. Chief McFarland is now stuck with the unenviable job of trying to update equipment and operations, in the face of naysayers like Pat Wilson. Moan all you want Pat, Fire IS moving forward. You ain’t gonna stop us.

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