IFD gets grant for new equipment

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

Thanks in part to U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, the Ironton Fire Department will get some new equipment after it moves into the new fire station later this year.

Sen. DeWine, R-Ohio, announced Thursday that the Ironton Fire Department will receive $75,600 through the Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act for fire fighting operations and safety. DeWine authored and helped pass the bill that created the program in 2000.

"This is good news for the residents of Ironton and the Ironton Fire Department," Sen. DeWine said in a written release. "Firefighters and rescue workers deserve the best possible equipment and training so they can help save lives. By working to pass and fund the FIRE Act, fire departments in Ohio and elsewhere will have first responders who are prepared for any rescue."

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The money will be spent on new airpacks, in-mask radios, new radio systems for off duty response, 1-hour air bottles that will be used on hazardous material calls and a tracking tag system to keep track of up to 100 people on a scene.

"It is a tremendous benefit," Ironton Fire Chief Tom Runyon said. "It gives us technology that, out of the regular budget, we would never be able to afford."

Runyon said that this equipment will go a long way towards improving firefighter safety, communication and efficiency.

If the process goes like last year, they should receive the funds in March and the equipment could be in place by summer, he said. The department is still hoping to be in the new fire station by March.

A continuation of a project from last year, this is the second year in a row that the department has received funds through this grant.

Last year, the department received $85,265 that was used to train a firefighter as a physical fitness coordinator, purchase new air packs, 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 training program.

More than 19,950 fire departments applied for grants through the program and the Federal Emergency Management Administration expects award 7,000 grants that will total a $750 million investment to enhance fire and EMS services across the nation.

Fire are responsible for killing more Americans than all natural disasters combined, according to statistics from FEMA. More than 100 children under the age of 15 are killed in house fires each year.