Saginaw, Flushing fire departments earn federal grants

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SAGINAW (WJRT) - (09/10/19) - More than $345,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant money is headed to Mid-Michigan to help keep firefighters safe.

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) announced the Saginaw and Flushing fire departments each earned an Assistant to Firefighter Grant (AFG).

"I am proud to announce these federal grants for local fire departments to promote public safety. The men and women at the Flushing and Saginaw Fire Departments work every day to keep our communities safe, and it is important that they have the necessary protective equipment to keep them safe. These federal grants will help our local fire departments remain prepared to respond to emergencies. I look forward to continuing to work with our first responders to promote public safety," Congressman Kildee shared in a news release.

Saginaw Fire Chief Chris Van Loo said the $70,472 will be used for two purposes.

The SFD will purchase a new breathing air fill station and the remainder will go to specialized safety training.

The fill station is a piece of equipment firefighters use nearly every day, sometimes multiple times a day.

"We've had two fires today already. So we had one overnight, one this morning first thing," Chief Van Loo said. "First thing they do is come back and top off their air bottles. It's critical piece of equipment."

After each fire the air packs have to be refilled so they're ready to go for the next call.

Earlier this spring the city of Saginaw bought 40 new air packs. They hold more air and have a higher pressure.

Chief Van Loo said the existing air fill station has a hard time keeping up when it's time to fill the new air packs.

Roughly $49,000 of the grant will replace the breathing air fill station, also called a cascade.

The remainder of the money will allow Chief Van Loo to send his team to specialized safety training. "Safety is obviously our primary concern, so several of us on the department have been through this Incident Fire Officer training," Chief Van Loo said. "We find it very valuable, so we want to bring it down to all levels of the department, right down to the line firefighter."

The Flushing Fire Department is receiving $274,472.

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