The Garden City department has been awarded money from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program to purchase 16 SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) packs, as well as new energy-efficient Cascade unit to fill the bottles and a battery-operated Jaws of Life.
“I was very surprised we got everything,” said Fire Engineer Darren Candela, who wrote the grant application. “They rank needs by high, medium and low priority. I knew if I wrote for a high-priority item and added some low-priority things, it would get read.”
“I’m delighted; our grant writer did it with my blessing,” Fire Chief Catherine Harman said. “He did some studying and found some tricks to try, so he included some old equipment. Our match is around $16,000 and we’re getting $163,000 in equipment.”
Candela wrote the grant application for $180,060. The federal portion of the grant is $163,169. The city must match 10 percent or $16,396, which was approved Monday by city council, opening the door for Candela to send a letter of acceptance.
The grant was the second largest given to four fire departments in southeast Michigan. The Ann Arbor Fire Department will receive $357,050; the Warren Fire Department will receive $79,546; and Bloomfield Township Fire Department will receive $155,377.
The SCBA packs include the backpack, two bottles and a face mask. Candela also included six additional face masks and tanks, some of which will be part of the department’s rapid intervention packet.
The new tanks hold the same amount of air, but are smaller in size, making it easy for firefighters to get through tight spaces, Harman said. She added that the department’s current SCBAs are 10 years old, the limit for use, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
The Cascade system is used to fill the air tanks. The current system is 22 years old.
The battery-powered Jaws of Life will replace the jaws on the department’s second line engine. The new jaws generate less noise and provide for clearer communication at the scene of an emergency.
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