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Fire stations to use grant for upgrades

February 11, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

A $153,670 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Fire Administration will be used to help upgrade emergency equipment at two Washington County fire stations.

Deputy Fire Chief Jay Brandenburg said both First Hose Co. of Boonsboro and its Rohrersville substation will benefit from the funds.

The companies will be responsible for providing 10 percent matching funds to the project.

Money will be used for the latest self-contained breathing apparatus for emergency responders, Brandenburg said. This equipment includes alerting devices for downed firefighters, secondary air supply connections to allow firefighters to share breathing air and illuminated gauges.

Most of the current equipment is more than 20 years old, needs constant repairs and lacks many safety devices, Brandenburg said.

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New personal protective equipment, radio equipment, fire hoses and nozzles also will be purchased with the funds.

In addition, each station will be able to implement Rapid Intervention Teams. Training for such rescues has been ongoing but the volunteers have lacked the tools necessary to implement the teams, Brandenburg said.

All of the funds were secured through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, Brandenburg said. Nationally, the program helps more than 8,000 fire companies with more than $700 million this year.

Brandenburg said that local congressional representatives have been instrumental in getting the funds for the Boonsboro/Rohrersville stations.

The stations serve southeastern Washington County with a group of 55 volunteers. More volunteers are always needed and anyone interested in signing up can get an application form either station, officials said.

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