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City of West Columbia donates used breathing apparatus and other equipment to Lexington Two program

West Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) – Since its opening, Lexington County School District Two’s new Innovation Center has received tremendous support from the community that surrounds it. There have been donations of time, equipment, and other resources that the students use during their practical skills and classroom education. These broaden their job-ready skills and provide them the real-life training and even certifications that can launch them into after high school higher education, or in some cases, have them qualified and certified to begin work in their chosen fields immediately.

Last year, the district launched its course on firefighting. When students graduate this training, they have the necessary skills and knowledge to go to the SC State Fire Academy and take their basic testing. Upon successful completion of that testing, they receive the certifications needed to be hired by a fire department and begin a terrific career in public service.

The City of West Columbia and its Fire Department have been extremely supportive of this program since its inception. They have already donated a large quantity of fire hoses that the students use in training. Now, with the city’s approval, the Fire Department donated 30 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs), often called air-packs, to the district’s firefighting program. They did so after the city provided the Fire Department funds to upgrade their SCBAs to a newer, more technically advanced model. The overall value of the donation was approximately $30,175 if the school had to purchase this equipment. These are an essential part of any firefighter’s education as they are used on all but the most basic calls to protect the crew’s respiratory tract from damaging smoke, chemicals, and heat.

During the official presentation at a recent city council meeting, the instructor for the Innovation Center’s program, Mr. David Crossland, said that each of the students had written a note of thanks to the mayor, the council, and the Fire Department. Those were passed out by one of the students who was modeling one of the SCBAs. Crossland said, “The SCBAs really help our program a lot.” He went on to say that the students being able to work, “on air,” is critical to their training. Crossland said that they will use the equipment as a firefighter would on the job. He said that they would be breathing the clean air they provide as a firefighter, but they would also use them with their facepieces, “blacked out.” This is done to simulate the conditions firefighters would face in real life fire or emergency where they might not be able to see because of smoke or other dark conditions.

The City of Cayce has also strongly supported the program since its inception. They have assisted with some of the students’ training and plan to do much more in the future as well.

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