The chief of the Hagerstown Fire Department said there is always a need for upgraded gear or equipment, but it can come at a hefty price.
The department is pleased to have been awarded more than $68,000 through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters grant program for 102 updated face masks and high visibility vests.
“These face pieces have the glass and plastic upgraded to resist higher temperatures,” said Chief Steve Lohr, Hagerstown Fire Department. “Another thing we will be getting with these mask is a voice enunciator that screws in to allow for clear radio communication and clear one-on-one firefighter connection.”
The chief said that firefighters attend to more than 100 fires in Hagerstown and being able to have some updated gear, especially the face masks, will not only protect them, but also save lives.
“This will enhance their safety on the street and in building fires,” Lohr said. “So, we are absolutely ecstatic about being one of the awardees across the nation this year.”
The gear will not be purchased until City Council gives their approval. The chief said the grant is subject to a 10 percent match and they will take up the matter with the city on June 7.
If awarded, the chief said the masks and vests will help more than 100 firefighters become even more prepared.
Since 2001, the Hagerstown Fire Department has received more than $2.2 million in funds from the department of homeland security’s assistance to firefighters grant.