Cumberland Times-News

Local News

July 14, 2014

Local fire departments get federal grant

— CUMBERLAND — Two area fire departments are sharing a federal grant to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus and face masks so they can breathe in smoke-filled rooms and keep themselves safe in the line of duty.

The Shaft Volunteer Fire Department will use the $207,176 grant to purchase 32 sets of self-contained breathing apparatus and 24 additional face masks. Shaft will share this award with the Ridgeley Volunteer Fire Department so that each one will receive 16 SCBA and 12 face masks.

“It is a regional grant that we are sharing with Ridgeley fire department. There will be 16 SCBAs for both departments and the new equipment has a 15-year life span. The grant allows us to replace air packs that were either broken or outdated,” said Roger Bennett, assistant chief of the Shaft Volunteer Fire Department.

Bennett said applying for regional grants increases chances of receiving the grant awards “because it involves more people — both citizens and fire companies.”

In addition, Ridgeley Volunteer Fire Department was notified Friday that it has been awarded a separate Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for $39,500.

“This grant will allow us to purchase tools, saws, ropes and a Rapid Intervention Team pack that gives us equipment on the engine to use if a firefighter goes down while fighting a fire,” said Ridgeley Deputy Chief Steve Shipley.

“Our match will be $7,000 for this grant and the regional grant that was sponsored by Shaft. So we will be getting $150,000 worth of equipment that we would not have been able to afford on our own and without taking out a loan. This is a big help,” said Shipley.

U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin announced Monday that three fire departments and one emergency medical services company in Western Maryland have been awarded a total of $553,707 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program to purchase life-saving firefighting equipment.

The funding includes the grant for Shaft and $31,160 for the Frostburg Area Ambulance Service to purchase two automatic chest compression systems to assist with emergency resuscitations.

Wayne Lewis, president of Frostburg Area Ambulance, said, “It’s nice to get a FEMA grant. We are looking forward to getting this equipment ordered and putting this equipment on two of our ambulances. We’re happy to be getting some money to purchase some equipment.”

Congressman John Delaney also announced the grant awarded to the Shaft Volunteer Fire Department.

The Shaft Volunteer Fire Department was organized in 1938, serving a 25-mile area.

“The Shaft Volunteer Fire Department responds to hundreds of calls a year and over the decades has become a trusted community institution,” said Delaney.


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