Smith County firefighters set to receive wildland-rated PPE

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Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 10:52 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) -With the increase of wildfires within East Texas, there are firefighters currently without the proper safety gear who are put at risk while out in the field.

Assistant Fire Chief JD Smith says that the current personal protective equipment (PPE) that select firefighters currently have is used to fight structure fires rather than wildland fires.

“It is not the best suited for the wildland environment. It causes heat stress on the firefighters in that aspect, and it makes it to where we can’t work as long,” says Smith.

“We’re outfitting them with the same personal protective equipment that wildland firefighters use all throughout the country day in and day out,” says Smith.

The initial price of the PPE gear was $230,000. After discussing that this price was out of their budget, the board agreed on a set amount of $105,000 that will come from contingency funds.

The new protective gear will come from a company in California called Ben’s Truck Repair.

“Ben’s is the only company that we found out of everybody that we looked at that could supply all of the products that we need for one location,” says Kelcey Trotty.

The new PPE will take about two weeks to arrive.

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