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Longmeadow fire company awarded grant

December 12, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

For the third time in less than a month, a county emergency services agency has received a sizable sum of money from a federal grant.

The United States Department of Homeland Security awarded the Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Company a $250,000 grant Wednesday. The grant is funded through the federal Assistance to Firefighters program.

Company Chief John A. Latimer IV said the company is using the money to purchase a new rescue engine truck, which will be equipped to bring water to the scene of fires and transport rescue/extrication equipment. The truck's cost is $310,000, Latimer said.

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Latimer said the company applied for $298,000 in grant money, but did not expect to get such a large percentage of the request.

"It's just a huge help - it's a wonderful thing," he said. "Federal dollars make it possible to expand and improve our services."

The Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Co., incorporated in 1970, is made up of 62 members, 39 of which currently are active. Its annual operating budget is $235,000.

In November, the Department of Homeland Security awarded the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. $97,983 and Washington County Emergency Services $56,193. That money is, in part, going to the purchase of new protective/"turn-out" gear for volunteers at both agencies.

The Longmeadow company will be using the new truck to replace the existing pump, purchased in 1979, that brings water to fire scenes, Latimer said. It also will allow the company to bring extrication/rescue equipment to fire scenes, he said.

Such equipment will allow firefighters to assist in vehicle extrications, as well as farm machine and industrial accidents, Latimer said.

Latimer said the new capabilities are an aid to emergency rescue organizations. He said it is a move in the right direction to offer that assistance.

"While the rescue engine does not take the place of a rescue squad, it can provide much needed technical and manpower support for the squad's personnel," Latimer said.

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