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Grant money flows into Waynesboro fire department

October 06, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The last time the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department replaced its supply hoses was 1984, which is too long ago if you ask the firemen. But after 22 years, Waynesboro will be able to get new hoses thanks to a $22,800 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department board chairman David Martin said the grant will help purchase 5,000 feet of much-needed new supply hose.

"Supply hoses last 15 years," he said. "Ours is leaky, beyond use and badly needs discarding."

While the hoses still work and have posed no real threat to firemen, Waynesboro Fire Chief Ron Flegel said the current hoses tend to double as sprinklers.

"Some of our supply hoses now will water your lawn while we put out the fire," he said.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., visited the small Potomac Street Station on Thursday to present the grant to Waynesboro's fire department.

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"We owe these men a deep debt of gratitude," Shuster said. "These men put the community first."

Shuster said the grant is awarded to help with the cost of operations and safety.

"At the end of the day, this is about the safety of our firefighters and our community," he said, referring to why Waynesboro received the grant.

Martin said the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department applies annually for grant money from the Department of Homeland Security, as do 30,000 other fire departments across the nation.

"These grants are competitive, and in the past we have been turned down," he said.

The fire department will match 5 percent ($1,200) toward the purchase of the hoses.

Martin is preparing next year's application, which will ask for money to upgrade the station's radio system.

Flegel said Franklin County is in the process of updating its dispatch system and his station is applying next year to be compatible with the county's new system.

"We will have to upgrade eventually, and we will look to the Congressman for support again because that will be a big financial burden," Flegel said.

The Department of Homeland Security awarded grants to five fire departments in the 9th Congressional District, including Waynesboro.

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