New grant saves the city of Davenport almost 6 figures on upgrades

DAVENPORT, Iowa  --  The Davenport Fire Department received a $612,000 grant from Homeland Security to replace the department's self-contained breathing apparatus.

"Our current packs are about 15 years old," firefighter Brian Klinkenberg said. "They are a little worn and scrapped up and the straps are a little faded."

Klinkenberg says the air tanks are the most important part of their firefighting equipment. The tanks compress breathable air and allow firefighters to work inside building fires or hazardous situations.

The grant requires the city to provide a 10% match of $61,236. The total cost of replacing the equipment is $637,000.

"Without this equipment, they would be stuck outside the building and not be able to go inside to help people," Fire Chief Mike Carlsten said.

The SCBA bottles can supply air for 30 to 45 minutes. Klinkenberg says each firefighter can go through two bottles of air at one fire.

Chief Carlsten says the department will begin testing different SCBA bottles to determine which brand fits the department best. They will comprise a team of six firemen to test out the bottles. He says the department has a year to spend the grant money so testing will begin as soon as possible.