Conn. fire department gets $237K grant for firefighter gear

The department will purchase 29 new SCBA and six AEDs

By Ed Stannard
The New Haven Register

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — The West Haven Fire Department has been awarded $236,925 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for new safety apparatus, according to U.S. senators Joseph I. Lieberman, I- Conn., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

The department, which covers the city's Center District, was one of three to receive grants from the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"The scope of the grant is to replace some of our SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus), which is our air packs," Fire Chief James O'Brien said.

The department will purchase 29 new air packs.

"We also are getting six automated external defibrillators," which are used to restart a victim's heart, O'Brien said, as well as three Life Packs, which paramedics use to monitor heart function.

O'Brien said the department, one of three in West Haven, had applied for 49 SCBAs and 12 defibrillators, but "we're certainly appreciative of the fact that they approved our grant and ... awarded what they did award."

The Greenwich and Winsted fire departments also received FEMA grants.

"Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect the people of their communities and we must do all we can to ensure they are well-prepared to do so," Lieberman said.

"Recent events in Japan remind us how much we count on first responders not just for fighting fires, but for responding to all sorts of natural and manmade catastrophes."

Blumenthal said, "There's no question that Connecticut has some of the best first responders in the country. The brave men and women in these three fire departments do their job in some of the most dangerous conditions and the grants awarded this week will help them to continue protecting our families and communities with the most up- to-date safety equipment and training."

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