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Firefighters receive $159K federal award ADVERTISEMENT

Firefighters receive $159K federal award

MONTOUR FALLS--The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded a $159,429 check to the Montour Falls Fire Department during the Falls Harvest Festival, Saturday afternoon, Sept. 26. The funds are from a grant that will allow the fire department to purchase 27 new air pack breathing apparatus to replace older ones in the department.
Assistant Chief Jake Burns said the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) updates standards every five years that require the department to change the minimum standard for breathing apparatus and personal protection equipment.
"We are out of the standard now because of the date of our air packs," Burns said. "Between 1998 and 2002 we have purchased them periodically when we could afford them."
Burns said the department did get a grant in 2002 for 18 air packs, adding the department has 34 total. He noted they are cutting down that number a bit due to maintenance costs associated with the air packs. Burns said one air pack unit comprises one backpack harness, two bottles and a face piece.
"We don't only use these in house fires," Burns said. "We also use them in hazardous materials incidents, carbon monoxide in structures and things along those lines. These will definitely be top notch, top of the line."
Burns added the department will have to go out to bid for the equipment, but added it should be in sometime in the next month and a half.
Saturday's speakers also included Alison Hunt of Congressman Tom Reed's office who helped work to secure the grant and Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn. Montour Falls Mayor John King also spoke, noting the grant almost amounts to the department's entire $200,000 annual budget.

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