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Community Safety
News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

City Council to Decide FEMA Grant for Firefighters

Andrew Magill

Springfield City Council could decide tonight a bill that would provide money for safety equipment for the city’s firefighters.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.  According to Springfield’s assistant fire chief, Dave Pennington, it’s a yearly grant application that allows fire departments to apply funds for tools and equipment for fire safety.

The grant—just over $639,000—requires a ten percent local match.  Pennington says, if council accepts the grant, it would pay for new SCBA’s—self-contained breathing apparatus…

"What we wear on our back to go into fires that allow us to breathe--have a 15 year shelf life on the cylinders as regulated by the Department of Transportation.  They expire in the spring of 2015, so we've got not a long time and those will be required to be taken out of service.  If we don't have funding to replace those, it certainly would alter how the fire department conducts business day to day," he said.

Pennington says SBCA’s are used anytime there’s smoke generated from a fire or during a hazardous materials response to protect firefighters’ respiratory systems.

The grant, if approved by Springfield City Council tonight, would pay for 90 SCBA’s with an extra cylinder and air mask, according to Pennington.