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Fire companies to replace hoses with grant

Published September 12. 2018 12:24PM

The fire companies serving Lansford and Coaldale plan to replace approximately 2.7 miles of fire hoses thanks to a federal grant.

The hoses they plan to replace are more than 20 years old and in some cases no longer comply with industry regulations.

Last week, it was announced that Coaldale Fire Department and American Fire Co. No. 1 (Lansford) would receive an $81,048 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from FEMA.

Joseph Greco, American Fire Co. No. 1 Chief, said the grant will allow the department to replace the hoses currently on its trucks, and create spares.

“Obviously the biggest advantage is it’s going to give us the ability to have more equipment, as well as replace outdated equipment,” Greco said.

After a fire call, the department has to hang all of its hoses to dry. The additional sections mean they won’t have to put wet hoses back on the truck. It also means when a section of hose is out of service, they won’t have to shorten their lines as a result.

While both fire departments are actively raising money to support their operations throughout the year, replacing existing fire hoses is a capital expense which they often can’t take on alone, according to Coaldale chief Steven Polischak.

“No fire company alone could purchase all that hose themselves. We definitely need the assistance of a grant like we got,” Polischak said.

The grant means that the fire departments were only required to pay about 5 percent of the total cost of the hoses.

Both chiefs agreed that applying together improved their chances of being awarded a grant.

“We submitted our grant together, and it definitely paid off,” Greco said.

The assistance to firefighters grant has been an asset for many departments including Coaldale and Lansford. Since 2001, fire departments nationwide have received $7.1 million in grants from the program.

The grant award was announced by Congressman Matt Cartwright.

“First responders regularly put themselves in danger to keep the people and property of our communities safe,” Cartwright said. “That is why I am a strong supporter of programs like the AFG, which help our first responders have the equipment and training they need to protect themselves and maintain our protective infrastructure.”

Greco said American Fire Co. has used the grant program to buy a truck back in 2005, an exhaust removal system inside the fire house, upgraded self-contained breathing apparatus and new radios.

Coaldale has also used the grant program in the past. Polischak said they plan to apply next year.

“Projects of this scale can’t be done without grants,” he said.

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