After several weeks of training and orientation, Port Hardy Fire Rescue (PHFR) officially put their brand new MSA G1 SCBAs into service by mounting them on their fire trucks.
PHFR Information Officer Adam Harding noted they received the SCBAs around mid-November and they spent a couple weeks training with them in order to get everyone up to speed on the new equipment. “The MSA’s have an updated system that we needed to get familiar with, so we’ve done a few things: we spent a couple hours doing classroom theory and then it was basically getting members into the packs and getting them comfortable doing basic search drills while getting used to the new features. After that we put the SCBAs into service on the 24th of November and mounted them on our trucks.”
Harding noted the fire department’s previous Scott brand SCBAs were roughly 25 years old and in much need of a replacement, so they went to Port Hardy council with a request to purchase 22 new SCBAs and 44 cylinders.
Council approved the capital purchase, which, according to Harding, was roughly 200 grand, and then it went out for tender and they ended up going with the MSA brand.
“These new SCBAs have more air in them than the old ones, which means more safety for the firefighters,” said Harding, who stated the packs are in line with the newest and safest standards for fighting fires, mainly thanks to “a lot of updated electronics and monitoring systems that increase our safety and our efficiency. They’ve got some really great features like rechargeable batteries — our old Scott packs we were constantly having to switch Double A batteries out, and they’ve also got a lot of ergonomic features that make it a lot more comfortable and lighter to wear.”
Harding said the SCBAs are “a firefighters main breathing apparatus” and they are used “basically anytime we’re exposed to an environment that’s immediately dangerous to life and health, any situation that would involve fire, smoke, hazardous materials like an oil or gas leak, any sort of fire situation where we need to use our breathing apparatus.”
He added he wanted to say a big thank you “to the district for the capital upgrade, and thanks to our members for putting in the time to get familiar with the packs so we can maintain our high level of service to the community.”