IFD receives funds to buy equipment

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 25, 2002

With a new fire station and additional manpower already in the works, the Ironton Fire Department will also receive equipment upgrades that Chief Tom Runyon believes will be valuable life saving tools.

U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) announced Thursday that the Ironton Fire Department will receive $85,265 through the Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement Act. DeWine authored and helped pass the bill in 2000 that appropriated the funds from the 2002 fiscal year.

"I am pleased the city of Ironton Fire Department will receive these funds," Senator DeWine said. "I worked to ensure that this legislation was passed into law and it is my hope that these funds will allow our local fire departments to better meet their needs and continue to protect our communities."

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As part of more than $360 million in grants distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, these funds are issued for firefighter training and to enhance emergency medical services.

"Overall, this package is to enhance our ability to do search and rescue operations for the citizens and our own people,"

Runyon said. "Some of our current equipment is 20 to 25 years old."

The funds will be used to train one firefighter as a physical fitness coordinator, purchase new air packs that will supply firefighters with oxygen for up to one hour instead of only 20 minutes, an air compressor to power the packs, inter-pack radio equipment that will allow the firefighters to communicate more easily, thermal imaging equipment to pinpoint a blaze within a house and a computer program that gives training instructions and documents the progress the firefighters have made.

"This could not have been done without this outside assistance," Runyon said. "All fire departments are strapped for money."

Runyon said that the fire fee does replace equipment slowly but there is not enough funds to finance all these replacements.

More than 19,500 fire departments applied for grants through the program and FEMA will probably award 5,500 grants.

Fires are responsible for killing more Americans than all natural disasters combined, according to statistics from FEMA.