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Fire, rescue groups get federal grants

December 05, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

Emergency responders from around Washington County who gathered at a meeting last month to review their performance during an October Environmental Protection Agency drill said they needed more training and more new gear.

And thanks to more than $150,000 in grant money, two county-based groups will have some of their equipment needs met.

Through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the Funkstown fire company will receive $97,983 and emergency services will receive $56,193.

Funkstown Captain Glen Fuscsick said the company will use the grant, for which it applied in April 2002, to purchase items including 52 SCBA breathing cylinders, 25 sets of protective/turn-out gear and a thermal image camera.

"We pretty much got everything we asked for. We were quite pleased with that," Fuscsick said.

In 2002, Funkstown received $198,000 for an Urban Interface Pumper, a four-wheel drive firetruck that carries water to the scene of a fire. The company received the pumper within days of being awarded the 2003 grant, Fuscsick said.

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"It was a really fantastic week for us," Fuscsick said. "We're really excited about it. We'll be able to provide support to many area firefighters."

Washington County Department of Emergency Services will use its grant money to purchase 25 sets each of turn-out gear and urban search/rescue gear for structural collapse rescues, according to a news release from U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Emergency services members have said the volunteer department has only two sets of the turn-out gear for its 25 members. They have said it made training with the equipment difficult.

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