The Washington City Council Tuesday gave the green light for the purchase of breathing equipment for the fire department. 

The council approved the purchase of 33 Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), with air cylinders and accessories at the cost of $244,846.01. 

The purchase is funded through the city’s half-cent capital improvement sales tax.

In addition, the Washington Community Fire District will purchase 18 SCBA units and cylinders at the cost of $121,825.37. The district budgeted $122,000 for the equipment.

Fire Chief Tim Frankenberg said the total cost of the SCBA equipment is $366,671.38, with $244,846.01 coming from the city’s coffers. The city budgeted $250,000 for the units and cylinders.

He added that a grant is being sought to offset the costs.

There will be a total of 51 SCBA and 103 cylinders purchased from Sentinel Emergency Solutions LLC, Arnold, the only bidder.

At the request of Frankenberg, the council also approved the purchase of a Honeywell Posi3 USB machine used to test the SCBA. 

The cost of the testing machine is $12,000. Frankenberg requested $5,153.99, the balance of the budgeted amount for the SCBA, and $6,846.01 from the fire department reserve fund.

He noted that the total includes technician-level training for a minimum of six fire department personnel. 

Frankenberg explained that the testing is costly and by providing on-site testing the department would save thousands of dollars.

The equipment replaces 15-year-old SCBA purchased in 2005, which has reached the end of its life-span and must be removed from service by December.