Manufacturing change renders some fire equipment obsolete

Oak Bay Fire department needs $195,000 for replacement

The self contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA) the Oak Bay fire department currently uses are being discontinued and replacing them will cost an estimated $195,000.

Fire chief Dave Cockle broke the news to council at the committee of the whole meeting on Monday. He received a letter last month from manufacturer, Mine Safety Association (MSA), saying they will stop producing the MSA 3000 series, which Oak Bay uses. Other fire departments affected include Langford and CFB Esquimalt.

SCBA equipment allows firefighters to breath in smoky conditions, making it mandatory firefighting equipment.

“Our department has used (the MSA 3000 equipment) since 1983 and in 2014 they will become obsolete,” Cockle said. “This means it will be difficult to get parts.”

Cockle said replacing the entire SCBA equipment is an opportunity for the fire department to have the same equipment other departments in the Mutual Aid Agreement are using. Saanich, Victoria and Esquimalt are in the agreement and they use a brand made by Scott Safety.

Cockle expects the tender price to be lower than his estimate.

Council directed staff to prepare the 2014 fire department budget to include replacing the SCBA equipment and to allocate up to $45,000 from the 2013 reserve to partially fund the purchase. The rest will be funded through a lease purchase plan through the Municipal Finance Authority.

Coun. Kevin Murdoch said the district should look at replacing the equipment immediately as there is some value in the current equipment, which can be sold.

“If we delay, it will cost more,” Murdoch said.

The purchase is subject to budget approval next spring.