Sheldon Fire Department receives grant for new equipment

Friday, February 26, 2010

A federal grant has allowed the Sheldon Fire Department to upgrade their equipment with new self-contained breathing apparatus. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant will give the Sheldon department $57,000 and the department will have to match it with $3,000 of its own money.

"Our department had a budget of $3,000 or $4,000 when I took over as chief a year and a half ago," David May, Sheldon Fire Chief, said. "Now it's closer to $8,000. Even the $3,000 we have to pay is a big chunk of our yearly budget."

The department has 12 volunteer firefighters active and five trucks, two pumpers, two brush trucks and one tanker/pumper. The grant will fund eight SCBA units to replace the older units the department currently has. Each unit comes with a full harness, face mask, and two tanks.

"The air packs we have now are old," May said. "They have to be tested every five years; and every time we have them tested, we find one that can't be used anymore."

The new units are not just new, they have features the old air packs lacked; features that could save lives.

"The new packs have fill lines so if there is a firefighter trapped you can hook two units together so both can breath off of one unit," May said.

The new units will work with the filling system the department has in their station, that has several large cylinders to fill the tanks with.

"We have a cascade unit made up of several large cylinders in the station to fill the tanks," May said. "If we're out at a fire and need to have refills we can call the Nevada department for mutual aid, they have a mobile system on one of their trucks."

The Sheldon department handled approximately 40 fires last year, most were grass fires, only six were structures.

"We had 39 fires last year," May said. "We had six structure fires. That's down from the year before when we had 80 fires, a lot of them were caused by someone running around starting them."

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