Local fire department upgrades lifesaving equipment

BUCKHANNON — Some local firefighters received some new tools to aid in emergency response recently.

The Washington District Volunteer Fire Company recently purchased about $24,000 to $25,000 worth of equipment through Interstate Rescue, according to fire chief Kevin Huffman.

“The biggest part of the funding came from the fire fee that residents pay,” the chief said, adding that his fire company was able to reinvest that money into upgraded tools that can be used in the event of an emergency.

The tools include a new Hurst Jaws of Life brand spreader and cutter, a new, high-tech Flir thermal imaging camera and a TL-9 stabilizer.

The thermal imaging camera replaces an older model.

Some members of the department attended a training hosted at the Buckhannon Fire Department in August.

This new model will allow them to employ some of that training.

“Before, we could only pick up heat about seven feet in front of us,” he said. “Now, we can pick it from 15 to 20 feet away. We are not in the heat of it before it’s too late.”

The newer spreader and cutter replace 10-year-old models.

“They are battery-powered so if you have a vehicle over the hill, you don’t have to buy all the hoses you see there,” he said. “You can just grab that and go. They have three times the cutting force as what those do.”

Huffman said he is planning to do in-house trainings with the new equipment in the spring.

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