Marysville firefighters will have new masks and protective equipment thanks to a $600,000 grant they were recently awarded.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant is a regional federal grant meant to assist firefighting agencies.
The Marysville Fire District received a similar grant about 12 years ago which provided self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA masks) and rapid intervention team packs (RIT packs).
"It's time for an upgrade. Our parts are worn out from use and training," said Tom Maloney, fire marshal with the Marysville Fire District.
He described the current equipment as obsolete and said this type of equipment is supposed to be replaced every 10 to 12 years.
The SCBA masks cost about $9,000 each.
"The mask is what a firefighter wears when they are fighting fires because the air is unhealthy to breathe," said Maloney.
The new masks are a considerable improvement over the old ones as they are lighter and more ergonomically designed.
"And that is important because it will reduce fatigue when they are working," said Maloney.
The new equipment is also supposed to be designed to not injure firefighters' backs as often.
They are also easier to clean.
"Firefighters have a high rate of cancer," said Maloney, and the contaminants that they are exposed to during fire fights is thought to be the biggest cause of this.
RIT packs are tools which help provide oxygen to downed firefighters if they are in trouble.
"The newer packs have more technology in them," said Maloney. "Later on down the road we have the option to integrate those technology options."
The $600,000 grant was awarded to both Marysville and Granite Falls fire agencies.
"We wanted to partner up so that we had a better chance of getting awarded this," said Maloney.
The grant will fund a lot of equipment for Marysville fire and aid trucks, but not all of them. The district is planning to replace the rest of the equipment and may pay for those supplies with their own funds.
In total, replacing all of Marysville Fire District's supplies could cost around $1 million, said Maloney.
The district is planning to set aside money annually going forward to keep a steady replacement schedule for the equipment.
"We want to make sure we have a dedicated fund for replacement so it is not such a big hit to our budget next time," said Maloney.
This round of replacements and the replacements 12 years ago were both supported through grants.
"We can't guarantee we'll get a third," said Maloney.
Maloney said he was glad that the district is getting help this time though.
"We're excited, there was a lot of hard work to get this grant and a lot of competition. A lot of agencies applied for it," he said.