As General Manager of Shamrock Gear & Repair LLC, I focus very closely on the fire departments in our region. Being located in Central Ohio, we like to focus on departments that we can visit, train, pick-up, and deliver to in a short time. We all understand that when looking at fire gear repair, time frames are important. “How long will you have our gear?” ”What is the turn around time for repairs?” These are examples of the most common questions we get in our office, even before “How much?”. So as I track where our customers are contacting us from, I watch our website traffic.
Recently, I have seen a large influx of traffic and visits from Texas, Kansas, California, Michigan, New York, and Florida. There have been as many, or more, visits from those states as from Ohio. This tells me that those states are looking for answers to the question “What do we need to do to maintain our gear and stay NFPA compliant?”. It is not a simple answer, but not complicated.
1) Get a copy of NFPA 1851. Read it. Try to understand it (or stay awake while you read it). Make a list of questions you have about the standard. Interpretations of the document may vary from one person to another. Getting a basic understanding and begin planning your Maintenance Program.
2) Contact your Firefighter Ensemble Dealer or Manufacturer. Get their recommendations.
3) Find a list of verified Independant Service Providers (ISP’s) and contact one, two, or all of them. Ask your questions. Look for training, services, references, prices, so on and so forth. Interview that ISP to see if they are going to be the right fit for you and your department.
4) Search the World Wide Web for online training. Read the articles, watch the videos, do what you can “in house” that will save you money and keep members safe. With the proper training from an ISP, you can do a lot of general maintenance yourself, right up to the point of advanced steps and sewing or repairs.
At this point, it is time to choose an ISP for further assistance and repairs.
It all sounds very simple- maybe it is. But, it is not a task that should be taken lightly. The individual in your department that has or takes on the task of your department’s gear maintenance should be diligent in the procedure and task. The assignment could be overwhelming if there is no Program in place. A quality ISP can be of great assistance.
So, if you are in one of the states that I mentioned earlier, and you are not getting answers in your state, contact Shamrock Gear, we can help!!
We test our fire pumps, we test our fire hose, we test our SCBA’s, we test our ladders- DO WE TEST OUR FIRE GEAR?