A new federal grant will help the Jamesport Fire Department upgrade its communications equipment, which fire department officials said will help save lives and fight fires.
The department recently was awarded $104,762 in funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
The grant will allow the department to upgrade communications equipment, some of which has not been updated in more than 20 years, according to Sean McCabe, the district manager for the fire department.
The department sought nearly $200,000 from the grant program last year but was turned down. This year, officials reapplied with assistance from Mineola-based grant-writing company Grant Guys. Fire officials have been setting money aside in the budget in recent years to purchase some communications equipment, a process McCabe said “wasn’t easy” given budget constraints. McCabe said the equipment upgrades will help firefighters communicate better in the field during life-saving and firefighting operations.
“Communications is vital,” he said. “For what we do, you have to have it.”
The equipment will include a base station for the department headquarters; portable radios for each firefighter on the vehicles; radios for every fire truck; and mobile data terminals for command vehicles that include mapping data, pre-plan, phone and contact lists, data folders for hazardous materials, and other reference material.
McCabe said the department hopes to have the equipment purchased and installed within the next six months.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said the funding would be essential in providing Jamesport firefighters up-to-date tools needed as part of their first responder tasks.
“It is absolutely essential that our firefighters are able to utilize the best possible equipment,” said Zeldin. “These brave men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities, and they should have access to every resource available.”