Conn. fire department gets grant worth almost $600K

The department will receive 110 complete SCBA and buy 285 masks, among other equipment

By William Kaempffer
The New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Fire Department has received a nearly $600,000 federal grant to replace its entire inventory of air packs and medical equipment on its engines and ambulances.

In a tough budget time, fire Chief Michael Grant cast the funds as a significant savings to the city for equipment that needed to be replaced anyway. This way, the federal government is picking up most of the tab.

"The air packs we are replacing, they've reached their life expectancy," said Grant.

The department, he said, will receive 110 complete SCBA, short for self contained breathing apparatus.

That includes the air tanks, regulators, face masks, gauges and harnesses.

The department also will buy an additional 285 masks, enough for every firefighter.

The existing Scott packs are 14 years old and, since their manufacture, there have been several upgrades in industry safety standards, Grant said. The new units all will be at current standards.

Part of the grant will be used to purchase five new cardiac monitors for paramedic units and 15 automatic defibrillators for engines, he said.

Rick Fontana, the city's deputy director of emergency management, said the existing defibrillators will be added to the public access program, through which eight defibrillators currently are maintained in public buildings.

The funds came through the FEMA-administered Assistance to Firefighters Grants and do have a mandatory city match, which totals just under $150,000.

New Haven's allotment was the largest in the state, according to the FEMA Web site. Wallingford received $495,000.

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