Grant to Provide Kalamazoo (MI) Fire Departments with Fire Equipment

Firefighters for six Kalamazoo area departments will be outfitted with nearly $1 million in new breathing gear thanks to a federal grant.

Fire departments from the city of Portage, Oshtemo Township, Alamo Township, Texas Township, the South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority and Pavilion Township will receive the new self-contained breathing apparatus to replace worn or outdated SBCA equipment.

The new equipment that includes 196 Scott-Air Pak units, 45-minute carbon cylinders, face masks and other air packs is secured after receiving a $714,793 Federal Emergency Management Agency regional fire grant. As part of the grant approval, the local governments have to come up with a 20 percent match of $178,698. Portage will administer the grant and handle its paperwork.

The Portage City Council recently approved a $980,458 bid from West Shore Fire Inc. of Allendale to purchase the equipment, but because the low bid was higher than funds allocated each of the six departments will need to come up with more. Portage, for example, is kicking in an additional $32,824, bringing its total to nearly $63,000.

The equipment allows firefighters to enter building fires with updated breathing packs lasting up to 45 minutes. Portage Mayor Pete Strazdas said the new breathing equipment is not only is crucial for safety but shows that local governments can work together.

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