West Valley Fire and Rescue is looking to raise money for some critical lifesaving technology.
West Valley Fire Chief Russell Sappington says the current breathing apparatuses the station uses is over 10 years old. The apparatuses are crucial for firefighters and needed now more than ever.
When Sappington started at the firehouse in the late nineties, firefighters responded to around 200 calls a year. Now, Sappington and his team respond to over 400.
Without the breathing apparatuses, Sappington says firefighters can't safely attack a burning structure.
"With the oil based furnitures, and everything that they're made out of, their poison levels are a lot higher,” Sappington said. “So, they're a necessity. You can't do interior attack and really you shouldn't be doing a lot of exterior attack without a breathing apparatus on."
Sappington added that West Valley Fire and Rescue needs help raising $180,000 to replace the twenty breathing apparatuses. They are asking for donations instead of a vote on a levy.
The best way to donate is through Sappington's Facebook fundraiser ( https://www.facebook.com/donate/745605829200321/2374660919269940/ ) or by dropping donations off at the fire hall at 2412 Farm To Market Road in Kalispell.