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Hammond Fire and Rescue receives $100,000 for new gear

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HAMMOND – Firefighters breathed a sigh of relief Friday when U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., announced the department will receive $100,463 grant for new gear.

According to state regulations, a firefighter’s turn-out gear must be replaced every ten years. Hammond Fire and Rescue feared they could not come up with the money before the department’s gear expiration date this year.

“It’s very difficult to comply with the state mandates placed on us, especially since we’re all-volunteer,” Chief Jonathan B. Bass said. “It would have been impossible to raise that kind of money. We could have, but it would have taken a lot of dinners and letter drives, which puts a lot of pressure on our little town.”

Gear for each firefighter costs between $3,600 to $4,000, Mr. Bass said. There are 45 firefighters in the department.

“It’s great and well-appreciated,” Mr. Bass said. “Now we can buy other equipment with the money we have put away.”

Mr. Bass said the department will take inventory before determining its next project.

The federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program funds can go toward training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and modifications to fire stations and facilities.

While Hammond applies every year, this is the second time it was awarded the grant. The first time was in 2005, when the department needed money to purchase new air bottles, air packs and a fill station.

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