Shelburne Fire Department receives new funding for equipment

The Shelburne and District Fire Department (SDFD) is looking to enhance their response capabilities after receiving funding for new equipment.

The local fire department announced in a press release on Feb. 6 that they were awarded $25,000 in funding from Farm Credit Canada through their AgriSpirit Fund to purchase a breathing air compressor and cylinder fill station for the fire hall.

“We need good clean, breathable air, when we enter into hazardous conditions. It’s not necessarily just fires, it’s chemical spills and hazardous material incidents; we need to have air for our personnel to breathe,” explained SDFD Fire Chief, Ralph Snyder. “This [equipment] improves our response capabilities because, if we do get a major incident where we’re using a lot of air, we can refill our cylinders much quicker than we could in the past. We’re never going to run out of breathing air.”

The breathing air compressor and cylinder fill station allow for the Shelburne and District Fire Department to refill cylinders of compressed breathing air that have been used on calls. The fire department currently has roughly 36 cylinders that are used by the firefighters, which hold between 30 to 40 minutes of breathable air.

Previously, the local fire department paid to use the refill system at the Orangeville Fire Department, which was a significant cost for the department.

The Shelburne and District Fire Department is one of the last fire departments in the area to have a breathing air compressor and cylinder fill station on hand at the station.

“It’s a fairly big cost saving,” said Snyder. “It’s something I started working on shortly after I got here.”

The additional funds will also help provide a more redundant supply of compressed breathing air in the County of Dufferin for response to structure fires and hazardous material events.

“There’s another compressor in the area, that if somebody else’s goes down, they can come here and fill cylinders,” said Snyder. “We also can supply breathing air to our surrounding fire departments. If they get a major incident, we can supply air cylinders to them so they can keep fighting what the condition is.”

Snyder noted the benefit the new equipment will have for the monthly training the volunteer firefighters due at the Shelburne and District Fire Department.

“It makes it easier for us to train because now we can use live air instead of simulations. We train with live air once a month and in the past, we would pretend we were on air, but it’s a lot better to train as if it’s a real situation.”

The breathing air compressor and cylinder fill station, which cost $75,000 for purchase and installation, were included in the 2023 Fire Services Budget. The Shelburne and District Fire Department was able to reduce the budgeted amount due to the $25,000 grant.

Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press