Three-year plan underway to replace air packs for Botetourt County firefighters

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – New lifesaving gear is on the way to fire departments across Botetourt County. New air packs are officially in service for firefighters there.

"The outdated air packs were really getting to a point where they were unsafe," said Zach Beckner, chief of the Troutville Volunteer Fire Department.

Botetourt County fire departments didn't receive the grant money they requested, so the county stepped up and created a three-year replacement plan to make sure each department has safe, up-to-date air packs. 

"We are thankful we were able to get this phased approach funded by the county to replace this much-needed equipment," said Beckner.

At the Troutville Volunteer Fire Department, the new air packs are replacing ones that were about 15 years old. Firefighters say the new equipment is safer, more technologically advanced and matches up with that of other fire departments in the region. 

"If we standardize the packs, we're all working together typically on a fire, it helps all of the crews to work better together," said Beckner. 

At the end of three years, Botetourt County will have replaced about 130 air packs at a cost of about $750,000.