NH fire dept. awarded $55K grant for firefighter gear

Other items that will be bought with the grant money include water rescue suits, portable radios, pagers and an RAD-57


By Kimberly Houghton
The Union Leader

MERRIMACK, N.H. — The town fire department has been awarded a federal grant, which will enable it to purchase life-saving tools to battle fires.

"This will be very helpful to us," Assistant Fire Chief Anthony Stowers said of the $55,935 matching grant awarded this week by the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.

The money will be used to buy protective fire gear for the department, including fire resistant coats, pants and boots, according to Stowers. Without the grant money, the department would not have been able to purchase the new gear, he said.

Other items that will be bought with the grant money include water rescue suits, portable radios, pagers and an RAD-57, a device that allows firefighters to measure the level of oxygen and carbon monoxide in the bloodstream to check for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a release.

Stowers said he hopes to buy six unique water flotation devices, which are similar to life jackets but allow emergency workers to freely maneuver in the water.

"These items can be expensive, so we are very grateful for the grant," he added.

The Pelham Fire Department also receive a federal grant for about $33,500, which will be used to purchase laptops for fire department vehicles. The computers are designed to provide critical information to firefighters before they arrive at the scene of an emergency.

"It is crucial that our firefighters have the equipment and tools they need to keep themselves and their communities safe," said U.S. Sen.Jeanne Shaheen, when announcing the federal assistance award money. "These grants will allow for gear upgrades that increase safety, and the modernized equipment will allow firefighters to respond more quickly to emergency situations."

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program provides funding to local fire departments to help them improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations through specialized emergency training for response to situations like terrorist attacks, enhancement of emergency medical services programs, equipment and facility upgrades and other initiatives, according to a release.

All grants require a local match, and the money in Merrimack must be approved by the town council, Stowers said.

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