The third time was a charm for Sevier County fire departments. After a four-year period and two previous applications with no luck, Sevier County fire departments were awarded a regional Federal Emergency Management Agency grant in the sum of $596,645 to purchase new and customized equipment. The Sevier County commissioners subsequently approved a 10 percent match of the funds awarded by the grant – $59,665. In addition, each of the seven fire departments contributed a sum proportional to the size of the department. The three sources of funds – the FEMA grant, Sevier County and the seven fire departments has covered the expense of the new equipment.
The new and customized equipment consists of 101 self-contained breathing apparatuses, in addition to 120 custom fit full-face masks – one for each firefighter at each of the seven fire departments in Sevier County. The SCBAs purchased have been allocated to the departments based upon the number of seats in each fire department’s trucks – Aurora, 13; Elsinore, nine; Koosharem, 10; Monroe, 20; Richfield, 20; Salina, 19; and Sigurd, 10.
“It has been a lengthy process,” said Daven Quarnberg, Aurora mayor and firefighter. “Endless hours have been invested by the chiefs and members of each fire department. It has finally paid off. There is no way our departments would have been able to come up with the funds individually.”
SCBAs typically have a 15-year service life cycle. All but 20 of the SCBAs Sevier County firefighters have been using were purchased in the mid-1990s and provided 15-20 minutes of compressed air to the firefighter. A second air cylinder for each SCBA is kept on the fire truck for a maximum of 40 minutes of air per firefighter. The new SCBA cylinders will provide 30-45 minutes of air for a max of an hour and a half per firefighter, according to Quarnberg. In addition, the equipment will be uniform across all Sevier County departments and can be interchanged if needed.
The bid for the new equipment was awarded to LN Curtis and Sons in Salt Lake City, which is also providing training on the equipment. Three training sessions for the SCBAs have already been held, the first in Richfield March 16, the second in Aurora March 17 and the third in Elsinore Monday evening. All firefighters from each department were required to attend a training session.
“We had to approach this as a county effort in order to have the run numbers high enough, as well as the number of people affected in order to qualify for the grant. And, this would not have happened without the assistance and efforts of Sheriff Nate Curtis, Richfield Fire Chief Bryan Worley, the fire chiefs at each department and the county commissioners,” Quarnberg said.