When the Paso Robles fire department received a grant for new air tanks, the firefighters knew exactly what to do with the old equipment: Donate it to their counterparts in Mexico.
The Paso Robles Fire Department donated 30 self-contained breathing apparatuses — the devices worn by firefighters that provide clean air — to the Cabo San Lucas Fire Department, which is located at the tip of Baja Mexico.
Because of regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, that equipment can no longer be used by U.S. firefighters, said Charles Brown, a firefighter paramedic for Paso Robles.
So instead of throwing out the old equipment, the Paso Robles Fire Department decided to donate it to a station in Mexico that was in sore need of firefighting equipment, Brown said.
“Fire departments down there don’t use equipment,” he said. “They’re literally fighting fires without equipment. It’s insane.”
From April 2 through April 5, Brown and firefighter paramedic Philip Magri traveled to Mexico to train his counterparts on how to use the new equipment and to teach them different rescue and survival techniques.
At the end of the two-day training, the Cabo San Lucas department presented a plaque to the Paso Robles department and the city at a ceremony attended by the town mayor, fire department and local news media, Brown said.
“It was really powerful,” Brown said. “They were so incredibly grateful.”