NWFF Environmental has launched a new fire and safety business in Kodiak, opening a new store at a location formerly home to Scuba Do, a fire extinguisher and scuba diving gear shop.
On July 1, NWFF Environmental purchased Scuba Do and merged the businesses.
NWFF will retain Scuba Do’s fire extinguisher services, but will discontinue all scuba diving related activities, which included gear rentals, training and oxygen tank servicing. There is no other dive shop that currently operates in Kodiak.
“Basically, almost anything to do with safety, we can help you out with. If we don’t have it in storage, we can get it,” said James Glenn, a health, safety and environmental consultant for NWFF.
In addition to fire extinguishers, the store carries personal protective equipment such as hard hats, high-visibility vests, fall protection, hearing protection and respiratory protection. They also offer short-term equipment rentals.
“This is what we specialize in. It’s not just another thing on the shelf. We understand all these products,” Glenn said. “We have agreements with different companies that give us good deals so we can pass that along.”
NWFF offers classes and training on forklift operation, confined space safety, CPR and first aid, among others. They also conduct annual Occupational Safety and Health Administration hearing examinations.
The business regularly partners with the Coast Guard, construction and shipping companies, and other businesses in Kodiak.
“But first and foremost, we are an environmental company,” Glenn said. When hazardous material spills in Kodiak, NWFF Environmental are “the first call.”
Prior to occupying its new location at 2012 Mill Bay Road, NWFF rented retail space at 1314 Mill Bay Road, after merging with Environmental Contracting Solutions, an environmental consulting firm in Kodiak, earlier this year.
NWFF, which stands for North West Fire Fighters, is a corporation headquartered in Philomath, Oregon, with branches in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. They first began serving the Kodiak community about a year ago, according to Glenn.
Sandy and Verlin Pherson, who owned Scuba Do since 1988, decided to sell their business when NWFF approached with an offer, according to Sandy. Scuba Do occupied the location at 2012 Mill Bay Road since 2006.
Both Sandy and Glenn said that the partnership has been “amazing.”
“It works out great for everybody,” Sandy said.
The Phersons will be working with NWFF staff for the coming year to impart their knowledge and expertise before phasing out of the store.
“The knowledge at their fingertips, just off the top of their heads, is insane. I’m trying to take it all in,” Glenn said.
NWFF’s decision to discontinue the diving services “boiled down to insurance,” Glenn explained.
“The insurance on that was a lot more than we wanted to deal with. Plus, the fire extinguishers go hand-in-hand with safety. We’re a health and safety and environmental company. That’s what we do,” he said.
NWFF’s grand opening event will take place at its new location from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. It will include fire extinguisher demonstrations, barbecue food and a bouncy house.