New breathing equipment helping keep Danville firefighters safer

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - When firefighters go into a burning, smoke-filled building, their self-contained breathing apparatus is what provides them with clean air to breathe and ultimately keeps them alive.

That means knowing how much air the apparatus has left is critical.

The new apparatuses the Danville Fire Department received will make that much easier.

"All we have to do is basically look down and we can see at any given time how much air supply we have," Danville Fire Department Lt. Alan Harless explained.

The air-supply level is now indicated on a heads-up display on the regulator, which connects the air-supply tube to the mask.

There are also LED lights on the outside of the SCBA and the air tanks glow in the dark.

"I think it was great. They're a lot easier to see when they glow in the dark," recruit Ryan Lankford said after coming out of a training exercise with the new SCBAs.

Lankford said the alarms on the SCBAs are also a huge relief.

They go off if a firefighter isn't moving, which could mean that the firefighter needs help.

"Going somewhere where you can't see or you can't hear and having the alarm on it if they can't talk, then finding them in the dark, that being that loud, it's a whole lot easier," Lankford emphasized.

Speaking of talking, the microphone on the new SCBAs are built in to the regulator like the heads up display, which helps make communication clearer.

The built-in mic also makes the masks cheaper.

"It reduces the price to near $250."

Saving lives and saving money.

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