FEMA funds allow Ohio firefighters to purchase much-needed equipment

Fire officials say the $323,000 will be used topurchase radios, laptops and defibrillators

By Doug Page
Dayton Daily News (Ohio)

TROTWOOD - The Fire Department is to receive a $323,000 federal grant for the purchase of equipment, and the city appears to be in line for another $200,000 for economic development.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency grant will purchase 38 portable radios, 22 "ruggedized" laptops and state of the art defibrillators. Firefighters, as they have done in the past, wrote the grant application, said acting Fire Chief Rick Wagner.

The $200,000 was requested by Sen. Sherrod Brown as a budget earmark. The money would be used to promote and support small businesses by "technical assistance through curriculum development, staff support, and a rotating loan fund," according to the Ohio Democrat's request. No word when that request might be approved.

The FEMA fire grant requires a 10 percent city match, which City Manager Mike Lucking called a great investment. "Because the voters approved a fire levy last year, the city has the $35,893 for the match," he said.

The total grant amount is $358,938 with the federal share at $323,045.

Wagner said the new radios are a critical need. The department's current radios were purchased in the early 1990s and parts are no longer available for repairs.

"The new portables will be compatible with the county dispatch system and surrounding departments," Wagner said. "They have a life span of 15 to 20 years. The radios take a beating. They are the ones the firefighters carry in their coats, so they are exposed to water and extreme heat."

The laptops will be used in the city's fire trucks and ambulances. Firefighters and EMTs can take the computers out of the trucks at the scene of a fire or accident to quickly file paperwork to hospitals and for investigations. The new defibrillators are a step up from what currently rides in the ambulances. The new machines will be installed in the ambulances, and the less advanced machines will be moved to the fire trucks to replace even older models.

"We'll be able to get more information to the hospital, faster," the chief said.

"This grant is a real bonus for our community," Lucking said.

Copyright 2010 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.
Dayton Daily News (Ohio)

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