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Fairlawn Fire purchasing replacement air packs, bottles

2/27/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Shown are members of the Copley and Fairlawn fire departments during ice training on the lake behind The Village at St. Edward. The training, which took place Feb. 10-12, included firefighters wearing Mustang suits to protect them in the cold water, according to Fairlawn Chief Russ Hose.
Photo courtesy of Russ Hose
During its Feb. 24 meeting, Fairlawn City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to go out to bid for the purchase of self-contained breathing apparatus units for the Fairlawn Fire Department.

Fire Chief Russ Hose said the city will purchase 24 new air packs and 24 spare bottles.

“An air pack is a self-contained breathing apparatus. In essence, it’s just like what a scuba diver would wear. It’s a bottle on [the firefighter’s] back with air in it, with a mask and a line coming up to an air hose,” he said. “It’s specifically just for going into a fire, so you’re breathing clean air while you’re fighting the fire. They have 30-minute bottles on them, and when it gets low, there’s an alarm that will sound, and guys will come out and switch out bottles or have new crews go in. Thirty minutes is plenty of time to be in a fire.”

Hose said the air packs currently being used by his department will become obsolete in 2016. The estimated price for the new equipment is approximately $148,000, he noted, but 95 percent of the total cost will be covered by grant money.

“This was a grant that we received in 2013 in the summer,” Hose said. “The city’s share is going to be in the neighborhood of $7,500, so it’s a good deal for us.”

Council President Russ Sharnsky (at large) said Fairlawn’s portion already was accounted for in the city’s budget prior to the vote.

Also during the meeting, Hose said his department took part in its annual ice training Feb. 10-12.

“We used the lake down behind [The Village at] St. Edward’s. The ice that we cut to get into the water was over a foot thick, and I believe that 6 inches of ice will support a car easily,” he said. “In the event somebody would fall through ice, we have these suits that you can put on. They are cold water suits, like a fisherman would use on freighters and things like that. They are buoyant, so they would float. So, we’ll put those on and somebody will actually go in the water … and we use different types of skills for bringing them out with ropes and whatnot.”

Hose said the department has yet to need the method to rescue anyone.

“We train for a lot of things that we never use and have never had happen,” he said. “It’s one of those things that you never want to have happen, but you sure want to be able to do it.”

In other business:

  • An ordinance accepting Liberta Construction Co.’s $1.213 million bid for the 2014 street repair program was given a second reading during the meeting.
    In addition, an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Environmental Design Group for construction supervision and inspection in conjunction with the 2014 street repair program for a sum not to exceed $59,961 was given a first reading only.
    “The city’s policy is to hire an independent inspection firm to inspect the road work every year that it is performed,” said Mayor William Roth.
  • According to City Engineer Nick Spagnuolo, there have been an “excessive number of water breaks” in the city this year.
    “Normally, we have about 12 during the winter, but so far this year we’ve had 31,” he said.
    Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten added his department has spent $55,000 more this winter than last year due to the weather.
  • Council heard the first reading of an ordinance establishing an annual budget for 2014 and “appropriating funds for the purpose thereof.”
    “We’re finalizing budget exhibits, and we’re hopeful that by the next committee meeting we’ll have an exhibit for Council to review,” Roth said.
  • Hose said new fluorescent lights are being installed in the fire station.
    “By doing this, it is estimated that our cost savings on the lights will be upwards of 40 percent,” he said.

The next Council meeting is set for March 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is scheduled for March 3 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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