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Williamsport firefighters get federal grant to buy new radios

December 07, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Williamsport Volunteer Fire Co. was one of three Western Maryland fire departments to be awarded federal grants Thursday, U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's office said.

Williamsport is getting $195,700 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

Will Ball, a captain with Williamsport's fire company, said most of the money will pay for 30 portable radios.

With new radios, firefighters and emergency medical workers will more easily communicate with each other and with public safety workers throughout the county and beyond without having to relay messages through dispatchers, Ball said.

Other money from the grant will pay for self-contained breathing apparatus units. Ball said Williamsport's ambulance company had older units when it merged with the fire company and the units need to be replaced.

The fire company bought its updated breathing units with grant money in 2004, he said.

The remainder of the new grant money will go toward protective clothing, Ball said.

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Last year, Williamsport was awarded $204,250 through the grant program, nearly covering the full cost of a new firetruck.

Williamsport received $135,900 in 2004 and $94,860 in 2003 under the program, according to Mikulski's office.

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