Chelsea fire chief unveils new safety equipment

Chelsea Fire Chief Wayne Shirley and firefighter Taylor Gunnels show off the new air tanks that allow for almost 15 more minutes of breathing time, a louder voice amplifier and a beeping device that starts if the tank stays motionless. (Reporter photo/Alec Etheredge)

Chelsea Fire Chief Wayne Shirley and firefighter Taylor Gunnels show off the new air tanks that allow for almost 15 more minutes of breathing time, a louder voice amplifier and a beeping device that starts if the tank stays motionless. (Reporter photo/Alec Etheredge)

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – During a regularly scheduled City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6, Chelsea Fire Chief Wayne Shirley addressed the council and showed off the fire departments new air packs.

Taylor Gunnels showed off the new safety equipment by dawning not only the air pack, but also his entire fire safe suit, which is well over $3,000 worth of equipment.

“We ask these guys to do a very important job and I’m so grateful for the support from the mayor and council to allow these guys to do one of the most dangerous jobs in a safe manor,” Shirley said.

These new air packs give the firefighters more air for a longer duration of time. The old ones allowed for about 30 minutes of time, while the new ones allow for closer to 45 minutes of time.

“This was a $183,000 project, but what we ask our staff to do going in and fighting fires is an extremely dangerous job and keeping them as safe as possible is the main key,” Shirley said.

The air tank also has an ear piercing beep that goes off if a firefighter is lying motionless and doesn’t have the ability to call for help. The beep will help other firefighters locate the person in need of assistance.

Shirley said that the department has 28 total packs, which was a “significant investment.”

Another thing that was noticeable was the actual voice of Gunnels.

“One of the new features we have on this air pack that we haven’t had on others is the voice amplifier,” Gunnels said. “You can hear a lot better as opposed to what you normally could with our old packs. These packs are just a lot more advanced.”

Other business discussed at the council meeting included:

  • Delayed the acceptance of a rezoning request for Cat & Bird Winery that was submitted by Matt and Robyn Lyons. Mr. and Mrs. Lyons would like to open their winery at the intersection of Highway 43 and Highway 11 on a total of 4.8 acres.

The council made it clear that they weren’t trying to keep them from opening the business, but that they wanted to clear up a few questions by meeting with the city engineer. The Chelsea Planning and Commission Board already approved the proposal, but the council will hold a public hearing on the matter at a later date.

  • They also approved resolutions for the new Chelsea City Council members that included: Cody Sumners Place 1, Scott Weygand Place 2, David Ingram Place 3, Tiffany Bittner Place 4 and Casey Morris Place 5. The new council will take their seats on Monday, Nov. 7.