By BOB OLIVER
HEIGHTS – New equipment for firefighters will be on the way thanks to a federal grant of $507,060 for operations and safety being awarded to the department.
The DHFD was one five in southeast Michigan to be awarded a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “Assistance to Firefighters Program.”
According to FEMA, the Assistance to Firefighters Program “allows local fire agencies to compete for grants to buy new emergency vehicles or to improve operations and safety by providing firefighter training or personal protective equipment, modifying existing facilities or buying supplies.”
Deputy Fire Chief Vaskin Badalow said that the funds will go toward purchases of cardiac monitors/defibulators, self-contained breathing apparatus’ and “bail out” kits for firefighters.
The “bailout kits” is a small package carried by the firefighter that usually includes a rope that can be tied off and used to quickly exit a building or house if necessary.
“This is all equipment that will help us out a great deal and we’re very happy to be awarded the grant,” Badalow said. “It’s extremely helpful for replacing oxygen bottles that are at the end of their life span and for getting all of our firefighters an individual breathing mask, whereas before we had to share and could run into sizing issues.”
Outgoing U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who announced the grants winners with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) July 2, applauded the efforts of rescue workers and firefighters.
“Every day, local firefighters make enormous efforts and sacrifices to protect lives and property in their communities,” Levin said. “These grants will help support them in their difficult and dangerous work.”
The other fire departments receiving grants are the West Bloomfield Township Fire Department in Oakland County, the Pittsfield Charter Township Fire Department in Washtenaw County and the Bruce Township and Sterling Heights Fire Departments in Macomb County.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected].)