Belfast Telegraph

Alert over faulty firefighter air tanks

By Michael McHugh

Some breathing kits used by firefighters to enter blazing buildings in Northern Ireland have developed faults.

The manufacturer is examining two sets after defects were found during routine testing. The defective kits were supplied by a German-owned firm, Drager.

A statement on its website said: "All Drager employees carry the responsibility of protecting lives. After all, whenever our products are used, people entrust us with their most valued possession – their life."

SDLP MLA John Dallat said: "I am seeking reassurance that the Fire Authority has got the proper management of that particular resource in place."

The equipment, an oxygen tank connected to a face mask, allows firefighters to carry their own air supply into a burning building.

Sets are tested regularly, often twice a day, and before entering the location of a fire.

Jim Barbour, a representative of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Northern Ireland, said the union was concerned about the faults.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said: "We have notified the manufacturer and they are carrying out tests on the sets.

"Operational response and firefighter safety has not been compromised."

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