Lifesaving upgrades on the way for Petersburg firefighters

From top to bottom, every piece of the outfit a firefighter wears could save a firefighter’s life.

There’s a life expectancy on the outfits which are known as turn out gears. In Petersburg, the deputy fire chief tells 8News some of the gear are just months away from expiration. However, upgrades are coming soon.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has just approved a $625,250 grant for the department. This will allow the department to replace the protective gear for all 80 firefighters who work in the city.

“It’s all about firefighter safety. We are really looking to provide our members with a higher degree of safety so that that is not a component that is in their minds when they are actively engaged in emergency response,” says Brian Sturdivant, the deputy fire chief for the department.

Petersburg will also get new oxygen tanks.  Without the grant, the department would have had to upgrade the items bit by bit.

“This is nice for us. This is a shot of adrenaline as it relates to our morale,” Sturdivant told 8news anchor Ava-joye Burnett. “Anytime you can impact the firefighter in the station with internal customer service, there is a direct correlation to the external customer service which we see in our community.”

The city will have to provide match funding, but that’s only 10% of the total amount FEMA will be providing. The next step, city council has to approve the grant, but the deputy chief says this is just a matter of formality that will pass.

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