Posted: 03/11/2013 12:19:42 AM EDT
Monday March 11, 2013
Two local fire departments are due to see upgrades in 2013 thanks to infusions of federal cash.
The departments of Savoy and Adams recently logged successful bids for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant funds, taking in more than $100,000 combined to put toward better equipment.
In 2012, each had applied with FEMA through its Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. Last month, the respective chiefs learned their efforts had paid off.
Some $60,000 awarded to Savoy is to purchase 10 new self-contained breathing apparatuses and Adams’ $43,000 will cover the cost of a new air compressor -- one to suit a new truck the department expects to receive in April.
Both Savoy and Adams fire chiefs Lawrence Ordyna and Paul Goyette said the upgrades stand to benefit not only their departments and the towns they serve, but all Northern Berkshire, as mutual aid is such an integral part of emergency response at present.
Ordyna said firefighters in his department equipped with the new gear will weigh 12 pounds less and be more compact and able in a rescue situation.
"It’s something we needed," Ordyna said. "We’re excited." Ordyna said the difference could "absolutely" save a life, if it came down to it. The old breathing apparatuses have been in use since the 1970s.
His department of roughly 25 averages 60 to 70 responses a year.
Goyette said Adams voters approved the fire district’s $160,000 purchase of a new truck last year, and his grant application was written to marry the two -- a new air compressor for a new truck.
"We knew we had a good shot," Goyette said. "[Our application] was to replace a 30-year old piece of equipment that was going to be going on a brand new truck."
Compressors are used to fill firemen’s air bottles and supply air on the scene of a fire. "We’re very grateful," Goyette said. "Not only did the voters allow us to purchase this new vehicle, but now this grant is going to put us at a different level."
The AFG program was created in 2001 along with the Department of Homeland Security. The total of 2012 awards given out was $285 million to cities and towns in every state.
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