Chesterfield awarded $129,000 grant for firefighting equipment

For the Gazette
Friday, July 28, 2017

CHESTERFIELD — The Chesterfield Volunteer Fire Department’s firefighters will soon be getting an equipment upgrade, thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The department will receive $129,000 to replace its air packs, Deputy Fire Chief Drew Morse said.

“Our old air packs were about 10 years out of date,” Morse said. “This is going to make a huge difference to our volunteers.”

Nineteen air packs will be replaced with new packs from Scott Safety, Morse said. They will each come with an extra pack and a facemask.

Many of the packs currently in use in Chesterfield have metal tanks, which are large and heavy, Morse said. The new ones will be smaller and more compact.

“We’re all volunteers, so it’s not like we’re on 24-hour shifts or in constant training,” Morse said. “With the new tanks, we’ll get less fatigued in a fire and we’ll be more mobile.”

FEMA distributes grants quarterly, Dennis Pinkham from FEMA’s external affairs office said. He said applications for new air packs are fairly frequent and usually of high importance.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many fire departments are staffed by volunteers,” Pinkham said. “It is a very big deal for them to get a grant, and it’s a very good thing for safety in those communities.”

Jaimie Allen, the station’s public information officer, took a grant writing class and decided to use that knowledge to apply for the grant, Morse said.

Representatives from Scott Safety are expected to visit Chesterfield soon for testing to decide which model of air pack will be used in the department.