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Corning firefighters breathing a little easier

CORNING, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - The City of Corning Fire Department is making major upgrades thanks to some new equipment.

In May, a federal grant through FEMA worth over $137,000 was received for the replacement of the department's self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). 

The device provides breathable air in harmful environments.

The old service units were implemented in 2003 and are nearing the 15-year lifespan which means time is up to dump the old stuff for new.

Firefighters trained on the shiny, modern supplies in a breath-down drill Friday morning.

"These air packs are a little bit different than our old ones," Fire Chief Brad Davies said. "It's important for firefighters to know how much time to expect to have inside of an IDLH atmosphere, therefore it'll tell them when they need to get out."

IDLH stands for Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health.

The low-air alarm will now go off when the air tanks are 33 percent empty instead of 25 percent like the old units.

This gives the firefighter a wider time frame to get out before it's too late.

Rich Negri, the City of Corning mayor, says the grant is a burden off the local taxpayer.

"These grants reduce the cost to property taxpayers," Negri said. "Each dollar in grant funding is one less property tax dollar that has to be raised."

The fire department plans to fully implement the new equipment by the end of the month.

All 24 SCBA units are also expected to have a 15-year lifespan. 

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