By Howida Sorour-Roberts
Following a brief discussion and question period during a Special Committee of the Whole, held immediately before the regular council meeting, Smiths Falls council passed a motion to purchase a breathing air compressor for the Smiths Falls Fire Department.
“Bear in mind that we fill, on average, more than 600 cylinders a year,” said Normand Beauchamp, Smiths Falls fire chief.
The old compressor is no longer working and at a conservative estimate is more than 30 years old, according to Beauchamp.
Two requests for quotes were solicited but only one supplier responded. The cost of the new compressor is $47,264.
The fire department had already budgeted $45,000 and on Sept. 6 received approval from council for an out of budget expenditure of $2,300 to purchase the new compressor.
“We can’t upgrade the one we have, which runs at 2,800 psi, while the industry standard is 4,500 psi. Currently we have to go somewhere else to get our tanks filled,” Beauchamp told Hometown News.
The cost of having the fire department’s oxygen tanks filled at a filling station would run to $15,000 a year according to the fire chief. A new compressor will allow the fire department to maintain breathing air cylinders filled with air on demand and will also allow them to fill up other fire department’s air cylinders as well as those for the occasional scuba diver. The potential revenue from these activities is about $600 a year.