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Franklin Fire Co. gets Homeland Security grant

November 30, 1999

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. ? The Franklin Fire Co. announced Friday it has received a $196,800 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help purchase new portable and mobile radios for its firefighters and vehicles.

The funds from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program will help the company purchase 12 mobile radios and 31 portable radios, as well as chargers, microphones and other accessories, that will be compatible with Franklin County's upgraded public safety radio system, set to become operational in January 2008, Fire Chief Mark Trace said.

"We expect to be ready when the county throws the switch," Trace said.

The county has embarked on a $4 million project to upgrade its radio system, which now operates on a variety of bandwidths. For example, many fire companies and ambulance squads use low-band radios that cannot communicate directly with police departments and other public safety services.

Because first responders sometimes cannot communicate directly, county dispatchers often have to relay information between them. The new county radio system will be UHF, and public safety services will need compatible radio equipment.

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"Without financial assistance such as this grant, we were concerned how we were going to be able to make this crucial switch," according to a press release from the fire company.

The grant required a 5 percent match ? $9,840 ? from the fire company, Trace said.

Other fire companies in Franklin County have received similar grants for new radio equipment. Trace said the Franklin Fire Co. and several other area companies are working with the Franklin County Emergency Services Alliance on a joint grant application to get additional money for new radio equipment.

Since 2001, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program has allocated $2.4 billion in grants to fire departments and first responders for equipment, vehicles and other needs, according to the release.

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