THE WHOLE CREW: John Skinner, Merv Bray, Peter Stacy, Darren Bray, Tracey Pope, Nick Suduk, Matt Gee and Jed Harrison all received a new mask.
THE WHOLE CREW: John Skinner, Merv Bray, Peter Stacy, Darren Bray, Tracey Pope, Nick Suduk, Matt Gee and Jed Harrison all received a new mask.

Life-changing gift touches brave rural fireys

A QUICK search of Facebook by Merv Bray brought The Glen Rural Fire Brigade further away from risks of being on the fire front line.

Armed with new, higher quality masks thanks to a charity he found online, Mr Bray is now confident his brigade will have more protection against deadly smoke.

After years of searching for something more appropriate than the current masks fireys say are not doing the job they need, New South Wales organisation “My Sister’s Keeper” made a special delivery to Mr Bray and the brigade in Warwick on Tuesday.

“The Rural Fire Service has been promising other masks for quite some time and it’s going to be a long time in the future before they will be forthcoming,” Mr Bray said.

“So when these ones showed up on the lady’s Facebook page, I asked if she could possibly get some for our brigade.”

Ophelia, from My Sister’s Keeper, was more than happy to help, according to Mr Bray.

“It’s fantastic, makes the job a lot easier if masks are actually working we can perform our role to a higher degree,” he said.

“We won’t need to withdraw from a fire line because the elastic is broke from our masks.”

The Glen first officer John Skinner said he had been campaigning for better protective masks for eight years.

According to Mr Skinner, P2 masks often don’t seal properly or let in smoke particles for those who have beards.

“They exceed the rural fire service standards, they’re very comfortable to wear, only have one cartridge in the front and fit no problems with glasses, beards or goggles,” he said of the new masks.

“I think they’re the best thing since sliced bread.”

Mr Skinner knows all too well the dangers of inadequate protection on the front line.

“If you’re fighting fires that’s a huge priority.”

Mr Bray agrees.

“One time we were down in Liston, NSW, the fire came racing up the hill and I was between the truck and the fire as it came over and it actually melted mirrors on the truck, it was quite daunting,” he said.

“When you have the right equipment it’s life or death, and now with these masks in a situation like that when it’s hard to breathe, we have more of a fighting chance.”



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