U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced Sept. 16 that Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS has been awarded $140,960 for operations and safety by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line each day to keep our communities safe,” Brown said. “These new federal resources will help ensure that Mechanicsburg’s skilled responders have the updated resources they need to safely do their jobs.”
The AFG program helps firefighters and other first responders protect the public and themselves. Projects funded in the operations and safety category include training, facility upgrades and modifications, and supplies such as protective equipment.
Fire Chief Bob Keene said the funds will be used to purchase new SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatuses) or air packs.
“Our packs would have been out of service within a year or two, so this grant money was desperately needed,” he said. “Steve Castle (assistant fire chief/EMS chief) worked closely with Sen. Brown, who really came through for the department and the village by helping with this grant.”
After the grant application was through the pipeline, Keene said, he received used SCBAs in August from the Norwich Township Fire Department in Hilliard. They were in better condition than what his department had at its disposal. Citing his desire to continue paying it forward, Keene, with Mechanicsburg Village Council’s blessing, donated the department’s old SCBAs to the Union Township Fire Department in Milford Center.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.