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The Haines City Fire Department’s efforts to update equipment received a boost earlier this month.
The agency was awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) for more than $48,800 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in early August. The funding will go toward the agency’s efforts to purchase new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA) – more commonly referred to as air packs.
“It’s always exciting to receive grant funding and have a large portion of a project covered,” Fire Chief Jeffrey Davidson said. “We’re grateful that FEMA considered and granted our request and are happy to be able to take some of the burden off of our taxpayers.”
As a condition for the grant, the agency is required to contribute non-federal funds of at least 10% more than allocated through the grant. The funding will cover about six air packs and all the accessory equipment.
The agency plans to purchase 26 total air packs – an additional 20 -- which will cost a total of about $249,000. The remaining costs have been allocated for the 2021-22 fiscal budget.
The 26 air packs will be enough to cover all current personnel and those who will be assigned to the new facility being built on land donated by AdventHealth Heart of Florida. It will also ensure that all packs are up to the latest National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.
“Having the most up-to-date equipment gives us one less thing to worry about and it’s good for the morale of our brave men and women who put their lives on the line,” Davidson added. “We hope it will be at least another 10 years before we have to purchase SCBAs on this large of a scale.”