FLINT TWP. — After reviewing three estimates for Turnout Gear, the fire department has chosen to purchase nine new sets from Apollo Fire Equipment Company of Romeo for $17,658.72.
Apollo, which also provided a recent purchase of breathing apparatuses, was the low bidder. Competing bids were from Moses Fire Equipment Inc. of Lawrence for $20,106 and from Lion First Responder PPE, Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, for $35,802.
Turnout Gear is vital for the protection of firefighters to safely and effectively perform their duties, said Fire Chief Thomas Stadler in a request to the township board to authorize the purchase for which funding is included in the 2018 budget.
The Fire Department currently is operating without spare turnout gear for most of its staff, Chief Stadler said. Most of the department’s turnout gear reached the end of its ten-year life cycle in February and April of this year, he said.
Without spare sets, firefighters are not able to wash the gear as much as needed to reduce carcinogen levels and flammable particles on the outer shell. Also, firefighters may have to use gear wet from sweat and water, which creates a safety concern about steam burns while fighting fires.
Turnout gear includes coats and pants with liners. Bid specifications covered everything from pockets, collars and flashlight straps to reflective lettering, coat fasteners and knee cuff and shoulder reinforcement.
After a trial evaluation period of the new gear, the plan is to purchase 12 additional sets, Stadler said.
Trustee Carol Pfaff-Dahl questioned the wide range in bid prices and whether the lowest offer was of good quality.
Stadler said the price range was due to manufacturer suggested retail prices versus a special price given by a vendor they deal with regularly.