Easthampton, Belchertown receive federal grants for protective gear

  • Easthampton Fire Department FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/28/2020 3:58:56 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Two local fire departments have received federal grants for personal protective equipment for their members as they continue to work in the pandemic.

“That was one of chief Mottor’s last grants that he put in before he retired,” Easthampton Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Hennemann, said of former fire chief David Mottor.

The Easthampton grant, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is for $8,874. The money can be used for both reimbursement of previously purchased personal protective equipment (PPE), or to purchase new PPE to keep firefighters and emergency medical responders safe during the pandemic.

Belchertown also received a $9,281 PPE grant from the federal agency.

“The COVID grants were created as a result of the CARES Act,” said David Parr, a regional fire program specialist with FEMA.He said that $100 million has been allocated for grants for COVID-related PPE for firefighters and emergency medical responders, and that about half of this money has been awarded.

N-95 masks, gowns, gloves, respirators, and foot coverings are some of the equipment that the grants can cover.

Hennemann said that he is in the process of reading the grant over before the department signs off on accepting it.

“Anything that we can get through grants is a bonus for all of us,” he said.

He also said that while the department had some firefighters test positive when the pandemic first started, the police and fire department are currently healthy and COVID-19 free.

Asked if PPE had played a role in this, Hennemann’s response was, “Oh, absolutely.”

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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