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Grant to buy gear for Pa. firefighters

September 20, 2008|By DON AINES

MERCERSBURG, PA. - Firefighters with the Mercersburg, Montgomery, Peters and Warren Volunteer Fire Co. will be getting 25 sets of new turnout gear with the assistance of a $51,062 federal grant announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

The grant was one of 15 for Central Pennsylvania fire companies approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the U.S. Fire Administration's Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, according to Specter's office.

"We have turnout gear that is more than 10 years old," MMPW Fire Chief Dusty Stoner said Friday. The National Fire Protection Association recommends a 10-year limit for useful life of the gear, he said.

"We're meeting with different manufacturers next week," to begin the process of purchasing gear for the company's paid and volunteer personnel, Stoner said. Turnout gear includes the fire and heat resistant coats, pants, gloves, boots and other equipment worn by firefighters, he said.

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"That's the first one of these we've ever gotten," Stoner said of the AFG grant. It is a 95 percent grant, which means the company has to come up with a 5 percent match, but raising $2,000 or $3,000 is better than having to come up with more than $50,000 locally, he said.

Last year, the company benefited from a Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grant of $42,900 that was used earlier this year to replace the portable radios used by firefighters, Stoner said. The radios needed to be replaced by ones that will be compatible with the new public safety radio system that Franklin County is expected to have in operation in 2009.

MMPW has gotten together with the other fire companies in the county in a joint grant application for money to replace the mobile radios in firetrucks and other vehicles, Stoner said.

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