Mich. fire departments to get nearly $400K in gear, equipment
Nearly $400,000 worth of gear and equipment will be distributed to more than 30 fire departments, many with little to no budget, thanks to a retired firefighter
By Meira Gebel
Detroit Free Press
IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. — Nearly $400,000 worth of gear and equipment will be distributed to fire departments across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, many with little to no budget, starting Monday, thanks to a retired Farmington Hills firefighter.
Jeff Friedenstab, the Iron Mountain deputy director of fire services, learned of a surplus program run by Denny Hughes at a recent firefighters conference and knew of neighboring departments in need of newer gear, or just gear, period.
Iron Mountain has a budget for gear, but Friedenstab knew of other departments using rubber gloves to fight fires, Hughes told The Daily News.
Now, more than 30 departments across the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin will pick up equipment and gear from Iron Mountain beginning today.
More than a dozen people unloaded trucks and trailers last week in Iron Mountain. There were air packs, extraction tools, chain saws and other equipment worth roughly $400,000. It's considered essential stuff, but it's also expensive for small departments to acquire.
"This kind of stuff is expensive and departments don't have the means to get it," Friedenstab told the Free Press. "It's a huge deal for these departments, most of their stuff is bought by fundraisers."
Hughes got the gear from departments that had surplus equipment.
He likes the road trips, saying the "fun part" is "bonding with our brotherhood" around Michigan.
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