Three Washington County fire departments have been awarded a total of $607,961 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, Maryland's senators announced this week.
The awards to the Hagerstown Fire Department, the Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. and the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. will be used to purchase new equipment, fire officials said.
The Hagerstown Fire Department will use its $314,190 to install diesel exhaust systems at its seven stations and to purchase new portable radios that allow firefighters to communicate with police and other emergency responders, Chief Gary Hawbaker said.
The diesel exhaust systems will remove harmful material from engine exhaust, Hawbaker said.
"We have some old fire stations, and once you start up a diesel fire engine, it really quickly fills the whole building with carbon monoxide," Hawbaker said.