MARTINS FERRY - The Martins Ferry Fire Department recently received a $150,593 grant from FEMA and Homeland Security as part of the Assistance to Firefighter's Grant program.
The fire department will be able to replace 44 sets of turnout gear, which will be split between four stations in Ferry, as well as purchase four thermal imaging cameras and 15 members will also receive Firefighter II certification.
Turnout gear includes pants, jacket, boots, gloves and helmet. The department has been in need of new gear. Over the years, they have been able to replace some sets of turnout gear, but due to an influx of members in the past years, along with standards changes, new and updated gear was needed.
"Basically, with the money city council gave us earlier this year to replace 12 sets plus these 44 sets, all our guys will be in the newest gear and meet the standards in turnout gear," said Fire Chief Jack Regis.
Overall, there are 64 members between all four stations.
"It's very important (to have updated gear). Over time and the amount of use, the gears' protective abilities begin to deteriorate and just falls apart because of the conditions that it is worn in," said Regis. "All of the toxins and chemicals and everything else from the smoke and soot begins to break the gear down. So most of the gear that we are replacing is 14 years old."
Each set of gear costs between $2,300 to $2,400.
The thermal imaging camera will replace three current cameras that the department has and the additional camera will go on the ladder truck.
"With this grant, with council's help and with what we have been able, in the past, keep up, all of our guys will be in new or newer turnout gear," said Regis.
"Currently to be a volunteer firefighter in Ohio, you have to have a 36-hour training course and eventually it is going to come to a point where you are going to need at least the firefighter I training and most of our younger members won't be able to be grandfathered if they offer such a thing," said Regis. "This will pay for their advanced training. Firefighter I is more classroom-type work. Firefighters II is more hands on with live fire training and education training."
Van Dyne may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org