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Portage fire receives technologically advanced air packs

Portage Fire Chief Tom Fieffer shows members of the Portage City Council how the new accountability monitoring system will work with the recently purchase self-contained breathing apparatus purchased by the department.

PORTAGE — Fire Chief Tom Fieffer told the City Council last week that firefighters often lie.

“They want to work,” he said as he talked about the new self-contained breathing apparatus recently purchased by the department.

Fieffer said firefighters will often fudge the truth if they are fighting a fire and are asked how much air they have left in their tank. They don’t want to leave, he said.

The new air tanks won’t let them get away with it. The new technology connects each firefighter’s air tank with a computer used by the fire official in command of an incident. It monitors the firefighter’s air and warns him and the commander how much air is left.

The new accountability monitoring system was purchased through a U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Assistance to Firefighters Grant received last year. In addition to Portage, the grant provided the same equipment to Chesterton, Ogden Dunes, South Haven, Burns Harbor and Porter fire departments.

Fieffer said the department spent about $24,000 to match the federal contribution of about $250,000 for the new equipment.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.