Natchez firefighters get grant

Published 12:12 am Monday, June 22, 2015

NATCHEZ — When navigating through life-threatening territory — like a burning building — breathing is essential.

And thanks to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), Natchez firefighters won’t have to fret about having functional breathing apparatuses when fighting fire.

Community Development Director James Johnston said the city was awarded approximately $161,000 from AFG to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatuses for the Natchez Fire Department.

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Natchez Fire Chief Oliver Stewart said the fire department currently has 22 breathing apparatuses, which all need to be replaced.

“The life of these (apparatuses) is about six years, so we have to replace them every so often,” Stewart said.

The breathing apparatuses, Stewart explained, are devices firefighters use to provide oxygen flow while navigating through fire.

Self-contained means the apparatus is not dependent on a remote air supply, like those requiring a hose.

Having functioning apparatuses, Stewart said, is paramount.

“We got the grant, and now it’s just a matter of getting some salesmen down here and getting them ordered,” Stewart said.

Johnston said the city is planning to advertise for the apparatuses some time in July, and then receive bids in August.