New firefighting gear for BFD

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
The Brandon Fire Department is getting new turn-out gear. The purchase was approved by both by Brandon Township and the Village of Ortonville.
“Turnout gear should be replaced every ten years,” said Brandon Fire Chief David Kwapis. The current gear for the department is 13 years old. “We actually have some gear that we can grab and rip it apart, which is definitely not safe for our firefighters. We have taken most of that out of service, but we still have some that are of the same vintage so it’s only a matter of time before they’re going to do the same thing.”
The cost for the new turnout gear is $107,451 for 34 sets of Innotex Energy gear.
“The Innotex, they had full range of motion with no pinch points, no distractions,” he said. “It was about five to ten pounds difference by the time you look at the pants and the coats, lighter.”
The new gear will meet or exceed current requirements, and the cost includes coats with liners, pants with liners, books, helmet, gloves, hood, bag to hold the gear and a portable flashlight for each firefighter.
“Today the gear that they have is so much more protection, they’re covered from head to toe, and they still have dexterity to pick things up, and sometimes very fine things that they can pick up with their gloves,” said Kwapis. “With that technology, comes cost. We do get about ten years out of them, or more.”