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Boston Fire Departments receive grant money

BOSTON—The Boston and North Boston Volunteer Fire departments will soon be adding some updated technology to their departments thanks to recent grant money.

New York Congressman Chris Collins announced $247,524 in federal funding for the Boston and North Boston Fire Departments from the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. This grant program is meant to provide funding to fire departments, state fire training academies and non-affiliated EMS organizations to “enhance their response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of both the public and emergency response personnel with respect to fire and all other hazards.”

“Firefighters are the courageous individuals that run toward danger to aid others,” Collins said in a press release. “It is imperative our firefighters are suited with reliable equipment when fighting fires, and departments here in New York’s 27th Congressional District have utilized the AFG program to get the funding assistance they need to keep their members safe. I was proud to work with the Boston Volunteer Fire Company to secure this crucial $247,524 in AFG funding and thank them for their service.”

Thirty-five self contained breathing apparatus air packs will be purchased using the grant money, Boston Volunteer Fire Department Chief Patrick Penrod said. The equipment, known as SCBAs, are used to provide clean air whenever a firefighter has to enter a situation where breathing can be dangerous to their health including fires and carbon monoxide leaks.

“It’s definitely a good feeling … with towns like ours, we have smaller budgets compared to these larger cities and even up in the Northtowns and receiving this grant will go a long way in our financial future,” Penrod said. “It’s such a large purchase that we would basically have to plan years ahead to make this purchase on our own and with this grant coming into help with that, we can put that money toward other useful projects that we really need to have done.”

The grant will help to replace some of the older SCBAs that the department has. Each SCBA has a tank with a life expectancy and the ones the department has are within a year of expiring. But instead of replacing just the bottles, the entire packs are being replaced with newer technology to meet the latest National Fire Protection Association standards.

“Without these types of grants, there’s no way we would be able to meet the standards that are required and updates on all our equipment as the updates change throughout the years,” Penrod said. “Even though some of the old equipment might be okay, it’s best to update to the new standards … they wouldn’t change them if they thought they weren’t better. I would stress the importance of these grants to all fire departments, especially those with limited budgets.”

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