The Woodford and Sneed Fire Departments are among two of the departments that will see new gear this year, as the Carter County Commissioners work to replace outdated and expired gear across fire agencies.
During their regular meeting Monday, the commissioners unanimously approved the purchase of 15 handheld Kenwood radios and 15 pagers for the Woodford Fire Department. They also approved purchasing 10 sets of dual gear for the Sneed Fire Department.
“They have radios in the truck, but they don’t have handheld radios,” said Joe David McReynolds, commissioner for district one. “Kenwoods are top of the line radios, and they’re not that much more money. We haven’t bought any (for the other departments that have asked) yet. I’m going to get with the fire chiefs and ask if they want to go with wildland or dual gear.”
Currently, the Woodford Volunteer Fire Department doesn’t have radios to communicate with each other outside of the fire trucks. This means that the crew can’t communicate while on a scene, which can be a problem when trying to coordinate with one another during a life threatening situation. The department does currently have pagers, but is in need of new ones.
According to an estimate provided to the commissioners, the radios and the pagers will cost around $10,050.
The Sneed Fire Department will also receive new dual gear this year. Sneed’s Volunteer Fire Department opted to get dual gear instead of the wildland and bunker gear. Dual gear is a multi-purpose set of firefighting clothing that can be worn to extrication, good-will calls, for wildland firefighting, training, or explorer programs. While bunker gear will still need to be purchased to wear inside burning buildings, dual gear saves departments the added cost of purchasing wildland gear in conjunction with EMS gear and technical gear.
Commissioner McReynolds said these two aren’t the only departments in Carter County looking to replace their gear.
“We’re going to have to replace the bunker gear soon,” McReynolds said. “It’s going to expire.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire gear should be replaced every 10 years, or sooner, depending on how much action the uniforms see.
The commissioners will purchase the equipment for the two departments right away as long as the bid for the items is still good. If not, the county will seek new bids and purchase the items then, Commissioner for District Three Jerry Alvord said.