Joan Delort: “We will review all the Bombers’ air equipment”

Joan DelortCEO of Prevention, Extinction of Fires and Rescues (DGPEIS)has assured in statements to EL PERIÓDICO that during the next month all the Autonomous Breathing Apparatus (ERA) of the Firefighters of the Generalitat. Since last July, an anomalous operation that compromises the integrity of firefighters has been reproduced in 16 units of the 1,720 existing ones, as this newspaper uncovered. “We are really very worried. They are an essential instrument for interventions & rdquor ;, Delort has admitted.

The CEO has ordered a review of all bottlesall trellises –the structure that holds the bottle and through whose ducts the firefighter receives the already decompressed air to breathe– and also the five compressors –the machines that load the compressed air in the bottles–. To review the compressors, the Ministry of the Interior acquired a machine a few days ago through an emergency contract. Delort trusts that the inspection of the compressors located in the parks of Tarragona, Bellaterra, lleida, Martorell and Cassà of the Jungle end this week.

Also by way of emergency contracting, the ‘conselleria’ has commissioned external companies to review the 1,720 ERA units. “One by one, the bottles will be checked to make sure there are no traces of moisture inside. And all the trellises will be opened to see that they work properly,” remarks Delort. “If this process can end in the last week of April, better than if it ends in the first week of May,” he insists.

Delort has also announced during the meeting with this newspaper that the 15 damaged units that have been recorded since the month of August 2021 –16 if the July incident that was not properly reported is taken into account– will be sent to an equally external body to which The mission will be in charge of thoroughly investigating why they have failed.

Moisture in the bottles

For reasons not yet clarified, there is moisture inside an unknown number of bottles of the ERA of the Fire Department. It is suspected that this is why they fail: the humidity solidifies by the release of air that cools the trellis. As a result of this process, manometer is blocked, the indicator that informs the firefighter of the rate of oxygen consumption. A report from Dräger, the main manufacturer, sent to the Ministry last week, aggravated the crisis by warning that the anomaly can not only block the pressure gauge, it can also interrupt the air supply. The leadership of the Bombers gave instructions this weekend to increase self-protection until all ERA equipment is reviewed.

“We cannot allow ourselves any doubt or uncertainty that affects their safety,” concludes Delort, who considers that this situation has come about, of generalized problems with ERAs, because investment has been lacking for years and there is equipment that should have been withdrawn earlier. and also because the Fire Brigade commanders have been assuming functions that should have fallen into the hands of personnel from the Ministry. For this reason, Delort explains that he will outsource the maintenance of the ERAs in the coming months.

Complaint of the unions to the Prosecutor’s Office

Unions UGT, CATAC, CCOO and CSIF have submitted a complaint to the prosecutor’s office to investigate whether the Ministry of the Interior has committed a crime against the safety of workers, having put the “life of firefighters” in danger & rdquor; for not providing them with new air conditioners. The union organizations request in their letter, to which EL PERIÓDICO has had access, the declaration of the last ‘ministers’ of the Interior, Michael Buch, Miguel Samper and Joan Ignacio Elenaas well as the general directors of the emergency corps.

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The complaint states that “for a long time” the ERAs have been having a “abnormal operation“what’s on”workers lives at risk“Because the Ministry, despite being aware of this problem, “has wanted to implement insufficient security measures & rdquor; arguing that the bottles continued to give air even though the pressure gauge did not work”. The workers’ representatives also requested the replacement of the equipment.

This is just one of the judicial measures promoted by the unions. But there are two others. One of them is a complaint also before the prosecutor’s office against the decision of the Labor Inspectorate that declared itself not competent to stop the activity with the breathing equipment. Another of the actions has been to request this stoppage in a social court, the withdrawal of the ERAs and the “immediate purchase” of new equipment.

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