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$533K grant helps Conn. FD with thermal imaging cameras, training

The East Hartford Fire Department will use the federal money for TICs, equipment and training

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East Hartford Fire Department/Facebook

Journal Inquirer

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Alsup said roughly $125,000 will be used to purchase five new thermal imaging cameras, which help crews navigate through smoke-filled environments and 16 sets of firefighting equipment.

Alsup said the rest of the grant will cover training, primarily overtime related to training officers.

“You can’t really do it on duty,” Alsup said.

Fire Chief Kevin Munson said the training will be crucial, as 60 percent of the department’s leadership positions have been filled in the past two years.

“That is a massive change in a department where experiential knowledge is so important,” Munson said.

Alsup said the funding would help firefighters do their job better and safer, ultimately benefiting residents.

“This grant is not about stuff,” Alsup said. “Sure, it comes with stuff, it comes with training, but it’s about people.”

[RELATED: Thermal imaging cameras: 6 questions to ask before buying]

Munson said a grant from last year helped the fire department purchase equipment that has been in service since, including automated CPR machines.

“Some of those devices have been used to help save lives multiple times,” Munson said.

Alsup said the equipment purchased with this year’s grant will help further firefighter safety through flame and smoke protection, as well as cancer mitigation technologies.

“Part of keeping our firefighters safe is getting them the best gear we can,” Alsup said.

Larson said credit is due to both lawmakers and town officials, as every grant opportunity is a competition between municipalities across the country.

“This is an extraordinary team in East Hartford,” Larson said. “These grants are highly competitive.”

Walsh said that East Hartford is deeply appreciative of the grant, as he expects it will help lighten the load for taxpayers.

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