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  • Last modified 208 days ago (Feb. 28, 2018)

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Air packs belong in museum

Fire equipment unsafe for volunteers

Staff writer

Peabody Fire Chief Mark Penner expressed concerns about the state of the fire department’s air packs at Monday’s city council meeting.

The air packs provide breathable air for firefighters during dangerous situations such as structure fires.

According to Penner, the air packs are past due for replacement.

“They’ve reached a critical stage,” he said. I’ve found some that were 48 and 38 years old, and my guys are getting to the point where they don’t feel safe going into a fire. Ninety percent of structural fires are fought from the inside out, so this is something that needs to be addressed, if not tonight, then soon.”

Penner presented prices for new and refurbished packs, stating that the refurbished ones are considerably cheaper, but will be completely safe and long-lasting because of the refurbishing process.

While a brand new air pack is $6,500, Penner can invest in four refurbished ones for $6,800.

Mayor Larry Larsen expressed concern about the packs.

“Obviously, that’s a huge safety item,” Larsen said. “We need to take care of that for them.”

Council members nodded in agreement, recognizing the importance of keeping Peabody’s volunteer firefighters safe.

The council approved paying half of the hotel bill for Penner and three firefighters who will attend a fire school out of Topeka. Penner also reported that the fire station is getting wifi services for training purposes, and requested the city’s financial contribution for half of the bill per month, $22.50.

The board unanimously agreed to help with the lodging during training, but deferred a decision on the wifi bill and air packs.

Council members also heard from volunteer firefighter Jeremy Sears, who expressed interest in identifying a series of action plans for emergency preparedness, specifically noting the school and both nursing homes in Peabody.

“I would like to see a small committee of those in charge, like the fire and police chief, blended into one,” Sears said.

Larsen, council members, and police chief Burke discussed safety strategies in place, and future plans.

Burke noted that he’s been working on the safety plan, but that there are multiple parts and it is extremely outdated.

Council members also voted to donate $50 to the Peabody-Burns after-prom committee, and heard from Burke about the complications he’s experienced while trying to enforce a cleanup at properties in the 800 block of north Chestnut St. Council members agreed to seek advice from the city attorney before moving forward.

Last modified Feb. 28, 2018

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