DeKalb commissioners approve new air packs

by: Erica Byfield Updated:


DECATUR, Ga. - DeKalb commissioners have agreed to buy firefighters new breathing gear. Channel 2 Action News broke the story about problems with the air packs two years ago.

Tuesday, the commissioners voted 7-0 to spend $2 million to purchase Scott Safety equipment.

Through a series of stories Channel 2 Action News has reported, firefighters expressed concerns that Draeger air packs can fail on them while they're in burning buildings.

Channel 2's Erica Byfield spoke with Local 1492 Secretary Kevin Cavanaugh about the development.

"We are familiar with Scott. We had Scott prior to Draeger; we were happy with them and we’re glad they are coming back," he said.

Cavanaugh also told Byfield the decision was monumental. "We're excited. It's been a long time in the works, we got the support of the commissioners and we are excited to move forward."

The commissioners requested the firefighters start using the new gear within 30-45 days.

Throughout our two-year investigation, Draeger has maintained DeKalb County had a maintenance issue, not an equipment issue.

Recently, an independent investigation by NIOSH, a federal agency, supported Draeger's conclusion.

Even so, Cavanaugh is pleased the commissioners have decided to purchase new gear.

"A positive step for DeKalb as well as the fire service as a whole," he said.