The Lewisburg City Fire Department recently received a $14,100 grant through the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security. The City of Lewisburg applied last spring for the grant which will go to purchase needed gear for the department. Bunker gear or turnout gear are terms used by many firefighters to refer to their Personal Protective Equipment or PPE.
The gear is extremely expensive, costing between $2,500-$3,000 per set. However, the cost is worth it considering the life it will protect is priceless.
“A firefighter’s gear is very important,” said Lewisburg City Fire Chief Jason Riley. The gear is often a combination of carefully woven fibres made of a fire-resistant variant of Kevlar called NOMEX. A tight weave ensures that the material resists ripping during often strenuous firefighting activity. It also offers a degree of moisture deflection.
Historically, firefighters did not have the same level of protective clothing used today. Because of this most fires were fought from the outside of burning buildings, and structures were rarely entered. Early in the history of firefighting, a firefighter’s outer clothing were more for warmth and dryness than for protection from fire.
Turnout clothing can consist of a combination of trousers suspenders, boots, and a jacket. Modern sets use a trouser/jacket combination. The advantage of this combination is overlapping coverage to create a protective envelope for the firefighter to operate in.
Seven sets of turnout gear will be purchased from the grant. The Lewisburg City Fire Department currently has 24 firefighters.
“Our department really needs the gear,” said chief Riley. “The average lifespan of turnout gear is ten years and they want us to replace the gear every ten years.” Between the city and rural departments, gear is being replaced by state aid monies as well. “It’s wonderful to receive this grant. It will help our department tremendously,” added Riley.
Another recent purchase made by the Lewisburg Fire Department was a 1,500 gallon tanker for $100,000. The tanker truck will be kept at the department’s substation located in Epley Station. The truck can be used for house fires, field fires, and will be taken on mutual aid ruins with other departments in county.
The substation helps the Lewisburg Fire Departments branch out to cover more territory at a quicker response time. The substation provides additional protection that once would have taken a longer response time. The new substation is located beside two churches, is less then one mile from Logan Aluminum, is approximately 4.8 miles from the Lewisburg Fire Station, and is approximately five miles from the Russellville Rural station. There are 10 Lewisburg firefighters who live within five miles of the substation, who can respond to a call immediately.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.