Today, Congressman Andrews announced that the Deptford Fire Department will receive a grant of $402,975 to purchase vital life-saving equipment. The money was awarded through the Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program (AFG), which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). AFG, created in 2001, is designed to help first responders acquire the equipment, vehicles, and training needed to protect themselves and the public.
The Deptford Fire Department intends to use the grant to purchase breathing apparatuses and thermal imaging cameras, which allow a firefighter to enter a blaze and locate a person in a smoke-filled room.
"We have some [breathing apparatuses] from 1997 and other bottles from 1993," said Battalion Chief Rick Thomas about the need to replace the Department's equipment. "Now the fire district doesn't have to pay for the bottles or air packs, which saves the taxpayers a huge amount of money."
The thermal cameras help firefighters find people trapped in a fire. "They take you to where the heat is in a building or where a person's body heat is," said Thomas. "They're just as important now to a firefighter as a personal radio or gear."
"Having well-equipped firefighters is vital to attracting jobs to the community," said Rep. Andrews. "This grant will ensure that our brave firefighters can protect South Jersey families while staying safe themselves."