Grosse Pointe Shores to get new breathing apparatus for firefighting

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 23, 2018

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — A gift from a Grosse Pointe Shores resident is going to be used to purchase some new gear for the Public Safety Department.

Thanks to three donations from a Shores resident who asked to remain anonymous, the city will be able to purchase new breathing apparatuses for public safety officers.

“Our current equipment is 20 years old,” Public Safety Director John Schulte told the City Council during a Jan. 16 meeting.

Schulte said he couldn’t reveal the amount of the gifts, but he did say after the meeting that it’s “a large contribution.” During the meeting, he said the woman’s donations would “more than pay for” the new breathing apparatuses.

He said the need to replace the old breathing apparatuses became “critical” after mutual aid partners Grosse Pointe Farms and Woods replaced theirs recently and switched to a different manufacturer and tanks with different amounts of pounds of air per square inch. As a result, the Shores air cylinders are no longer compatible with those of the Farms and Woods, which could be a problem on a fire scene.

In addition, Schulte said the increase in PSI means there’s more air in the tanks, so officers will have roughly 45 minutes worth of air per tank instead of the 30 minutes they had with the old equipment. The new equipment is made by MSA, he said.

“It’s state-of-the-art and has a lot of good safety features,” Schulte said.

Officials, including Schulte, expressed gratitude to the donor and others who have contributed money and other items over the years.

“We have many residents who donate money,” Schulte said. “We’re extremely grateful to the residents. They’re so generous.”

Mayor Ted Kedzierski echoed that sentiment.

“The (public safety) chief said it best — we’re fortunate to live in a community where the residents are so generous,” Kedzierski said after the meeting.

He said gifts like this one “keep the department a leading-edge department.” The Shores was the first public safety department in the country, he said.

“The money she so generously contributed — can that be used for this?” City Councilwoman Tina Ellis asked.

Schulte said it could, and the mayor concurred.

“It’s unencumbered,” Kedzierski said of the donation.

This equipment is vital for officers when fighting fires or doing firefighting training exercises.

“It’s as important to a firefighter as a firearm is to a police officer,” Schulte said.

Although the Shores purchase price for the equipment wasn’t known at press time, Grosse Pointe City — the second smallest of the Pointes — purchased similar equipment recently for its department at a cost of just under $7,000.

Schulte said they planned to order the equipment soon. He said it takes about 120 days after ordering to get it delivered. The department hopes to have the new breathing apparatuses delivered by July 1, Schulte said.