MARION, SC (WBTW) – Marion City Fire Department now has state of the art breathing equipment.

Marion City Fire says saving lives and protecting property is what they strive for each day.

The City Firefighters have replaced all SCBA packs with 38 state of the art MSA G1 SCBAs. The equipment helps first responder’s breath while putting out a fire.

The pack gives them 15 more minutes of air. Chief Trey Cooper says the equipment was nearly 20 years old.

“We maintained them well or we would’ve had them that long but anything 20 years old when they were designed for 10…,” said Chief Cooper.

Cooper says it will make the job a lot more efficient and safer.

“We’d actually have the old the radio to our throat. So that people can understand what we’re saying because it was so muffled by the wearing all this gear,” said Cooper.

The new breathing packs have several new features like a built-in microphone.

 “If we didn’t have this it’d be harder to hear me. It’s a lot better for communication,” said Chase Funderburk, a nine-year department veteran.

More than two dozen of the breathing packs have an attached thermal camera.

Firefighters also have the ability to hook up more than one person the oxygen tank for an emergency.

“As soon as I connect with him he’s going to start pulling out of mine,” said Funderburk.

Cooper says the new kit benefits firefighter safety.

“We’re going to be better tomorrow than we were today. We’re better today than we were yesterday,” said Chief Cooper. “We are always moving forward.”

The department started using the gear last week. Cooper says Marion Fire is one of the first fire departments with the equipment in our area.