All of the county’s volunteer fire departments received 2 SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) cylinders Monday morning to assist them in their fire respond duties.
This marks the second year in a row the VFDs have received air cylinders from Hopkins County. Last year, the county distributed 49 air cylinders to help VFDs replace equipment that is out-of-date and, in some cases, to provide the life-saving equipment for those lacking enough tot property protect members. In 2020, the devices were obtained using CARES Act funding to enable the VFD members responding along with EMS on medical calls to wear proper protective equipment.
“We refill these cylinders after we use them. They run out. They only have a 15 year life. After that, because of how they’re made up, they’re only good for 15 years. After that, we have to destroy them,” Hopkins County Fire Marshal Andy Endsley explained during Monday morning’s regular meeting of Hopkins County Commissioners Court, prior to the distribution of the new cylinders to a representative to each volunteer fire department.
He noted that the county received a large grant several years ago to better equip not only the VFDs but also Hopkins County Fire Department with new air cylinders. Unfortunately, the lifecycle of the air tanks, which are filled using either the Pickton-Pine Forest VFD or Hopkins County Fire Station compressor, had all expired last year. That Endsley said meant replacing them, a huge cost not only to the county but also to the volunteer fire departments.
Last year, teach VFDs received 4 cylinders and VFDs that also respond to calls with engines for structural firefighting also received one additional unit. Monday each VFD in Hopkins County was issued 2 additional air cylinders by the county. This should allow the expiration dates to be spread out, so the departments and county won’t face the large cost of replacing them, and will mean each even when some expire, should still have working units to use when responding to calls that require them to breath air from the tanks. The cylinders this year come from funds allocated by the four County Commissioners this year, another benefit the county provides the volunteer departments to better equip the to respond to calls.
“This another appreciation to our volunteer fire departments that go out and respond with us every day and do this for free. We could not make it without them here in Hopkins County. They are huge part of our system here in Hopkins County,” Endsley said, then asked that a representative from each department present Monday join him in front of the Commissioners Court to be recognized.
Once member of Tira VFD said simply, “Thank you,” to the announcement regarding the 2 new cylinders each would receive.
“Speaking for the Commissioners Court, these are the best of the best for Hopkins County. We appreciate these men and women. Y’all don’t know how much is going on, every day now. We are in a drought now. Hopefully, it’ll break later this week. Until that happens, and actually after that, they’ll roll every day to grass fires, other fire around our county, protecting us. I tell you, this is the best of the best. Thank you so much,” Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom said.
“Thank y’all very much,” Endsley added.
After the Commissioners Court meeting, Hopkins County Fire administrators with commissioners and the judge on hand, distributed 2 cylinders filled with air and ready for each county VFD representative to take back to their stations for use on calls.