Niles City Council approves purchase of $212,000 fire department SCBA gear

Published 3:30 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2023

NILES — The Niles City Council authorized the purchase of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus masks, bottles, and a RIT Pak during its Monday meeting.

The current SCBAs and RIT pak used by the fire department are either expired, or will expire in the next couple months. Municipal Emergency Services of Sanford, MI, using contract pricing, provided a quote for 25 new masks, 50 bottles, a RIT rescue pak and associated equipment for a total cost of $212,202.

These new SCBA’s would be warrantied for their lifespan, which is fifteen years. The fire department applied for a federal grant to cover the costs associated with the purchase of new SCBAs but was denied. The fire department received a total of $98,000 from a local foundation to use towards the purchase of new SCBA’s, and has been setting funds aside in it’s equipment replacement fund for the last several years, amounting to a total of $176,000 the fire department has to use towards the purchase of this new equipment. The remaining $36,202 would be paid for using American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Entering a burning structure in order to fight a fire or search for victims is one of the most dangerous tasks performed by firefighters, said Niles City Administrator Ric Huff in a memo to city officials. In order to do this, firefighters must be outfitted with proper turnout gear and SCBAs, which consist of a hood and mask which protect the firefighters face while connected to an oxygen bottle worn on their back. National Fire Protection Association standards require each firefighter to be outfitted with an SCBA and one extra bottle. 

A RIT pak is a quick deployment pack used in the rescue of a downed firefighter that consists of a mask, bottle, and device which allows the unit to be applied to the firefighter without removing their existing equipment. 

In other business, the council approved the bid of $7,766.58 by Newman Signs of Jamestown, North Dakota for the purchase  of street and construction signs for use by the Department of Public Works. According to Huff, Due to the age of many of the city’s signs as well as new regulations, many of the signs in stock are non-compliant and/or have reached the end of their useful life. Specifications were prepared and five bids were received for various signs and sign items. Newman Signs of Jamestown, ND submitted the lowest bid.

In further business, council:

  • Adopted the Berrien County 2022 Hazard Mitigation Plan as the City’s Hazard Mitigation Plan and authorized the City Administrator to appoint a representative to attend Hazard Mitigation meetings
  • Approved a professional services agreement with Williams & Works for planning and zoning consulting services
  • Appointed Jennifer Scally to a five-year term on the Niles Housing Commission.