PLATTSMOUTH - Plattsmouth firefighters are very close to procuring new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to replace outdated units expiring in January.

At its Monday meeting, Plattsmouth City Council approved publicizing Requests for Proposals for the purchase of 41 new air packs. U.S. Department of Homeland  recently awarded the fire department a $264,000 Assistance to Firefighters grant to purchase the units.

Plattsmouth Fire Chief Mike Wilson: “We’ve been applying for a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Assistant Firefighter Grant the past four years. We were looking at $350,000 to be awarded to replace 44 air packs.”

Although the grant is for less than requested in previous applications, Wilson is relieved most of them will be replaced.

Wilson said he was also thankful to City Administrator Erv Portis and City Attorney Stephen Preston for ensuring RFPs fit all necessary grant and National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 1981 requirements.

Wilson: “It took a lot of homework.”

Portis said volunteer firefighters were instrumental in writing the grant application and the RFPs to meet NFPA standards.

Portis: “If you ever can’t sleep, just read the NFPA requirements,” he joked.

Each new unit includes a backpack harness, 45-minute cylinder, face piece, spare 45 minutes cylinder, one charging station and six spare battery packs.  In addition, the purchase includes nine additional face pieces.

Wilson: “The grant will take us up to 41 air packs. Every firefighter has his/her own mask that attaches to packs we have now.”

The RFP will be publicized starting Nov. 5.  Proposals are due at the city clerk’s office at 11 a.m. Nov. 26.

The council is scheduled to approve the purchase Dec. 16. Once the department receives the new units, they will begin fit-testing and training Feb. 17.