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Grants for gear

August 19, 2005|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

erinc@herald-mail.com

Two Hagerstown fire departments were among five area stations that received federal funding Thursday through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The Hagerstown Fire Department received nearly $200,628, its third federal grant in three years, Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said.

Hawbaker said the department will purchase sets of self-contained breathing apparatus, which firefighters use to breathe clean air inside smoke-filled buildings. Hawbaker said the department also will purchase a hose and other equipment.

"The hose and all the apparatus that goes with the hose will allow us to come up to national standards," Hawbaker said.

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He said the equipment used by Hagerstown Fire Department firefighters will be on par with neighboring stations after the hoses are in use.

"This will help us when we respond with other companies," Hawbaker said.

In the past three years, Hawbaker said the station has received about $668,000 in federal grants.

The Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Department also received federal money. Firefighters will use the $127,428 grant to purchase 41 sets of protective gear and 23 sets of safety breathing apparatus.

"All of our active members will receive new protective clothing," Chief John Latimer said. "And all of our self-contained breathing apparatus will be upgraded to meet national standards."

Latimer said this is the fourth time in five years that the station has received federal money.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is a competitive program that awards one-year grants to fire departments nationwide.

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