Grant Will Help Replace Dothan (AL) Fire Equipment

About $400,000 in federal grant money will help the Dothan Fire Department (AL) replace fire equipment.

The Dothan City Commission is expected to approve the $398,040 Assistance to Firefighters Grant, which — along with $99,500 in city matching funds — will be used to replace 60 packs that firefighters wear and use to breathe when fighting fires.

Battalion Chief Chris Etheridge said the money will also be used to buy a total of 110 face masks for the fighters as well as “accountability” software that can track firefighters in a GPS-like manner when they are inside a structure.

Etheridge said the equipment being used now is more than 10 years old. He said it is reaching the end of its life cycle and will not be maintained by the manufacturer in the near future.

After the commission approves the grant award, the department will have a year to spend the money. Etheridge said the latest model of the self-contained breathing apparatus will be released to departments in the fall. This will give the department time to develop specifications for the department and place the equipment out to bid. The department would probably receive the new packs at some point in the spring of 2014.

Etheridge said the grant and city matching funds will replace about 60 of the packs at $6,800 each, along with the 110 additional masks at $700 each. The department has about 100, meaning additional funds may have to be spent in the future to replace the entire inventory.

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