MUSCATINE, Iowa – Muscatine Fire Department staff have been busy assembling over 40 new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air packs this week and have already started training with the new equipment. The new air packs were purchased after the Muscatine City Council approved a grant awarded to the Muscatine Fire Department to purchase 41 new SCBA on August 20, 2020.
The Fire Department was notified on August 12, 2020, that the department had been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for $260,909.90. The grant allowed the Fire Department to purchase 41 new air packs with the City’s share being $26,090.91.
The current stock of SCBA used by the fire department was purchased in 2001 with an Assistance to Firefighters Grant. Those packs are useable but out of date with current technology and with the devices used by other mutual aid departments. The old packs are also much harder to maintain since parts are no longer being produced.
The Fire Department had been trying to secure a grant for the last several years to help pay for the new apparatus but was unsuccessful in the highly competitive grant market until this year.
The department had budgeted $212,500 to replace 20 of the 42 SCBA’s with another 20 to be included in the 2021/2022 budget if grants were not available.
Battalion Chief Gary Ronzheimer wrote the latest grant application submitted under the Grant Programs Directorate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grants program of the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) in the United States Department of Homeland Security.
FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant provides funding for the essentials that firefighters and first responders need to be safe and effective on the job.