FLINT TWP. — Nine township firefighters soon will be suiting up in better quality fire gear. At its Monday night meeting, the township board approved the purchase of about $16,747 in protective fire gear.
Fire Chief John Ringwelski said some of the suits are needed to replace turnout gear that firefighters wear while fighting fires. Old ones are being taking out of service because they haver reached the 10-year life expectancy, as approved by the National Fire Protection Association. Some of the suits will be used as back-up gear for firefighters who contaminated their regular gear and have to have it cleaned, he said.
Ringwelski submitted a request to buy the equipment from Douglass Safety Systems of Sanford, at a cost of about $1,860 each.
He said the department already has one test suit previously purchased from Douglass and the firefighter who uses it likes the ways it stretches and stays in place at the wrist for extra heat protection.
Ringwelski said before settling on Douglass to buy the new suits, they shopped around for quotes from other vendors. There aren’t a lot of vendors and next lowest quote was $400 higher.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller clarified only price quotes were sought, not actual bids. Ringwelski noted that one of the interested vendors could not provide the quality of equipment needed.
“We require highest thermal protection we can get so our guys don’t get burned,’’ Ringwelski said,
“Today’s fires, they do put out lot of heat. A chair burning in your home is equal to four gallons of gasoline burning,’’ he said. The cost of the suits will be covered by the fire millage fund, he said.
Trustee George Menoutes said he did not question the cost because he’d rather spend the money if it will save lives. Trustee Frank Kasle asked if a cheaper bulk rate was available since they are buying so many. Ringwelski said no.
Miller inquired about shipping costs which is not included in the price quotes. Ringwelski said Douglass usually delivers equipment purchased from them.
“We have worked with them for 15 years and had real good results, he said. For example, the company recently provided zippers to replace some on older coats that were causing problems.
They also have provided loaner equipment, when available such as thermal imaging equipment and gas detectors, he said.