Middletown updating firefighter equipment, getting new gear

The city of Middletown will outfit its firefighters in new turnout gear and repair others as some equipment gets to the end of its use.

Middletown City Council on Tuesday approved the purchase of 15 sets of turnout gear, which are the coat and pants firefighters wear to do their jobs, for $38,000 from Phoenix Safety Outfitters.

Fire Chief Paul Lolli said the company was on the state contract which did not require the city to solicit bids and that the company has the city’s specifications on file. He said the turnout gear and repairs were budgeted for this year.

Lolli told the Journal-News that city personnel who are trained in turnout gear inspection just completed an extensive process of inspecting, documenting and cataloging all of the personnel protective equipment that the Division of Fire members use for structural firefighting.

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He said the 15 sets of pants and coats exceeded the limits as required by the National Fire Protection Association and needed replaced due to damage and/or age of gear. About 20 other pieces of fire gear will be assessed and repaired as needed.

Lolli said the costs just for the coat and pants can range from $2,200 to $3,000, depending the manufacturer.

He said additional costs for the rest of the ensemble include a helmet which costs about $300, boots are about $300, gloves cost $80 and the Nomex hood costs about $80.

“The turnout gear is fitted to the firefighter,” he said. “We’ve been buying five to eight sets a year.”

He said the request will allow the department “to be proactive in replacing gear on a schedule that does not require large amounts of gear to be replaced all at once.”

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