MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – The Moraine Fire Department is set to get a big check from FEMA to help pay for new equipment. There’s still the formality of Moraine city council accepting the grant, but once they do the department will buy new communications radios for the first time in more than a decade.
Lt. Steven Sage says, “They’re starting to wear out a little bit, so they’re breaking down. The problem is eventually the parts are not going to be available to fix them.”
Broken radios would be a critical problem for firefighters reliant on communication. When Lt. Sage was told the manufacturer of their radios will no longer service them, he knew the department would be forced to pay for new ones sooner rather than later.
“They’re a little more water resistant, they have ergonomic controls which makes it easier to operate with fire gloves on, noise-canceling microphones which makes our transmissions a little clearer.”
And with software that essentially turns them into computers, Lt. Sage was looking at a $5,000 price tag each. On Tuesday his application for FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant was approved for more than $95,000.
Soon every firefighter on duty at the two Moraine stations will have a new radio every time they charge into the flames, a big difference compared to early in Lt. Sage’s career. “We had one radio for the crew. So, if that one person was to have an issue or the radio was to break, we would lose communication with the outside. So, we’ve come a long way but hopefully this will allow us to take the next step for 15-20 years.”
Any fire department can apply for the grant through FEMA for funds to pay for additional training, facility upgrades, or equipment. Lt. Sage applied for this grant last November, so the entire process took less than a year.
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