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Mehlville Fire Protection District receives grant

The Mehlville Fire Protection District has received a grant of $146,566 from the 2003 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their abilities to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in their communities. These funds increase the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, new fire apparatus, emergency medical service programs, and fire prevention and safety programs in local departments, according to a news release from the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

The award, part of $750 million being distributed to more than 7,000 fire departments in 2003, will be used by the district to purchase tools and safety equipment, including turnout gear, thermal imagers, swift-water jackets, hydraulic rescue tools, ventilation fans and nozzles.

"Personal protective equipment (turnout gear) is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment on the fire or emergency scene today, especially with new chemical and biological threats," Assistant Chief John Schicke stated in the release. "The district will be replacing 28 sets of turnout gear in order to continue to provide the best protection for our firefighters for all circumstances they may encounter on the job.

"Thermal imagers increase the safety and effectiveness of all fire rescue activities, providing speedier location of trapped victims and firefighters. They also offer a greater advantage in locating and extinguishing hidden fires, thereby reducing the level of damage to structures. The grant will allow the district to purchase three thermal imagers, which will bring a total of four within the district. The remaining funds will be used to replace aging ventilation fans, hydraulic rescue tools (jaws of life) and nozzles. Swift-water rescue life jackets will replace the current old ski life jackets,'' Schicke added.

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