New Grant Means New Gear for Local Fire Departments

By Julia Rose

Published 07/31 2014 06:23PM

Updated 07/31 2014 06:26PM

Local firefighters will soon have over $200,000 to spend on brand new equipment, ultimately leading to better safety for those in the Central New York community.

It is part of a federal grant that the Whitesboro Fire Department says they desperately need considering some of their gear is over 20 years old. The much needed funds are going toward buying state-of-the-art breathing equipment.

"We’re very excited about it, we want to make sure our 72 firefighters are provided with the best in fire protection so that they're able to turn around and provide great quality service for our residents,” says Brian McQueen, President of the Whitesboro Fire Department and a past chief.

McQueen says without grant money his department wouldn't be.

"We don't want to go back into the tax payers, we conduct an annual fund drive each year which helps us supplement some of the additional equipment that's needed you know we have to actively pursue grant funding,” said McQueen.

The money is going toward buying new self-contained breathing apparatuses. Each apparatus costs about $6,000 and the Whitesboro Fire Department is buying 24 new ones as soon as the grant money goes through.

The new breathing gear will also require a new filling system.

"Because of the new technology that it encompasses, our 25 year old compressor system to fill the old self-contained breathing apparatuses will not be able to allow us to fill the new ones so part of that grant is also for us to purchase a compressor system,” says McQueen.

With the new equipment McQueen says his volunteer crew will be able to breathe in situations involving heavy smoke or hazardous materials. And then when duty calls, they'll be ready and fully equipped.

The New York Mills Fire Department also received some federal grant money to buy new equipment. Both departments say they are extremely grateful for the money and thank Congressman Richard Hanna for his work.

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