The Levittown Fire Department has received a federal grant for $359,000 for new protective gear for its members.
The award through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program should cover the cost of the 150 sets of personal protective equipment needed by the department. Each set of "turnout gear" includes a helmet, hood, coat, gloves, boots and pants and costs about $2,300, said Kevin Mulrooney, vice president of JSK Inc., a public safety consulting company that writes grants for fire and ambulance agencies.
The award is one of the largest ever received for personal protective equipment on Long Island, Mulrooney said.
Levittown Fire Commissioner Joel Bearman expressed his appreciation for the grant, saying the new equipment will comply with new national safety standards.
The new standard "states that gear should be retired after 10 years," he said. "That's a lot of gear in one shot, so that's why we put in the grant, and luckily, we got it."
Three years ago, the Levittown Fire Department received a grant for recruitment and retention, which helped the department increase its numbers, Mulrooney said.
The grant program, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency started in 2001, enhances service to the public and increases firefighter safety, Mulrooney said.
"This is federal funding, you're paying federal taxes, and you're getting something back," Mulrooney said.
The Levittown Fire Department is one of the "largest and busiest" volunteer fire departments in Nassau County and responds to about 1,500 alarms per year, said Tom Devaney of JSK Inc.