Local fire departments recently received a boost from federal grants to help pay the cost of specialized protective gear and related needs.
North Haven was one of 13 municipalities in the state to receive an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The grant amounts vary by need.
North Haven received a $18,000 grant for operations and safety equipment. The grant will be used to purchase a protective gear washer and dryer.
The grants were made on Aug. 10, as part of the 2017 year grantee list. It was specified for personal protective equipment, and provides 95 percent of needed funded if a department can fund the last 5 percent.
Eligible applicants include local fire departments, fire districts, nonaffiliated EMS organizations, tribal fire departments and State Fire Training Academies. The grant applications are submitted from each agency directly to FEMA, where the applications are reviewed and scored by fire service personnel from throughout the nation.
Middlefield’s volunteer fire department also was awarded a grant to replace out-dated breathing apparatus. The department plans to use its $152,620 grant to purchase 24 new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and 10 spare breathing units and pieces.
This is the first time the fire company has received the grant. Middlefield fire Chief Peter Tyc said the company’s current breathing units don’t allow all firefighters to have individual apparatus and are set to expire next year.
“This will meet the latest standards and conditions and the recommendations,” Tyc said. He added sanitary conditions will greatly improve.
The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant is to help meet the needs of fire and emergency response departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations.
“Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards,” according to the grant’s description.