BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi firefighters have two innovative new tools that can be used to help train the firefighters and to teach the public. It's a move that can only mean more lives across the coast being saved.
Just last month, the Biloxi Fire Department purchased two new pieces of equipment -- a truck that can delivery life-saving air to firefighters while they are out on the job and a smoke trailer that simulates what it's like during an actual emergency.
An air compressor is attached to the fire truck, which provides firefighters with the ability to refill air tanks when needed. Fire Chief Joey Boney says it's the first of it's kind in Mississippi.
"This new unit has the capability of providing an endless supply of breathing air in the field, where and when it is needed the most," Boney said. "Firefighters will be able to continuously fill their air tanks on the scene, saving vital time."
A firefighter's air tank typically provides up to 20 minutes of air, which can be diminished if the firefighter is actively fighting a fire. In the past, empty air tanks had to be transported from a fire scene to fire headquarters on Porter Avenue for refilling and then returned to the fire scene.
The air truck, a $213,163 investment, is being funded over five years through grants from the insurance industry.
Another new item added to the fire department's equipment locker is a 27-foot fire prevention and safety trailer, which can be filled with smoke for training. It is also a tool to help teach children about fire safety.
Aside from the trailer's kitchen and bedroom, the trailer also has a seating area where groups can see how fires start using a toaster, oven or stove. They can also see a demonstration of a short circuit in an electrical socket, and learn how to take cover when faced with severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, and flooding.
"This trailer is the first-of-its-kind in Biloxi," Boney said. "It is handicapped accessible and will allow us to reach all ages and the physically impaired, something that until now we were not able to do. It's realistic training for the entire family and it can save lives."
The $100,000 trailer was funded through a federal grant and uses video screens, smoke, heat, and vibrations to simulate those emergency situations.