Council to buy 20 sets of safety gear for firefighters

By Andy Taylor
Montgomery County Chronicle – March 26, 2015
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 8, 2015

The Caney Fire Department will receive 20 new sets of safety gear, commonly known as bunker gear, following a decision by the Caney City Council on Monday.

At a special meeting at City Hall, councilors voted 6-0 to purchase 20 new sets of bunker gear for $50,660. The new sets of fire-protective coats, pants and helmets will be purchased through First Due Fire and Safety Shop of Bartlett, Kansas.

The outfits will be purchased in a lease-purchase arrangement through Community National Bank & Trust of Caney. The cost of the 20 new sets of bunker gear will be financed over the course of five years.

The council’s decision to buy the bunker gear came after councilors learned that the existing sets of bunker gear was largely obsolete and deemed unsafe by most national firefighting standards. Adam Davidson, Assistant Fire Chief, said national standards give bunker gear a lifespan of 10 years before they need to be replaced.

“The newest set of gear we have on record was purchased in 2005. The second-oldest gear was purchased in 2004. All other coats, pants and boots were purchased in the 1990s,” he told the council.

Councilors called the special meeting after hearing of the request at their regularly scheduled meeting on March 16. Councilors balked at the fire department’s initial request to purchase 25 new sets of bunker gear for each of the fire department’s members. However, Davidson, along with Fire Chief Tom Jones, compromised by agreeing to 20 new sets with those firefighters who are on the fewest dispatches receiving the newer-albeit-decade-old existing sets of bunker gear.

Councilors also requested that the fire department anticipate the purchase of several sets of bunker gear on an annual basis rather than present a one-time plan for an entirely new set of bunker gear.

Davidson indicated he would work with city clerk Debbie Morrison to present a budget that calls for bunker or safety gear equipment when councilors prepare the city’s annual budget each summer.

“This has been an entirely new experience for all of us,” Davidson said of the budget process. Jones and Davidson were named to their positions two months ago.

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