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7 fire districts get grants for training

Seven Nassau County fire districts have received more than a half-million dollars total in federal grants designed to attract and retain new volunteers to the system.

This round of FEMA-sponsored Assistance to Firefighters Grants, secured by grant writers JSK Inc., pay for needed equipment, training and other resources -- including up to four sets of fire gear, physicals mandated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and life insurance for a period of time.

Some districts were also approved to spend the money on marketing programs to attract new volunteers.

The New Hyde Park Fire District received $99,000 for paramedic training tuition for four members, as well as turnout gear and marketing.

Mandated costs for fire districts can be high; annual physicals, for example, cost $200 per firefighter, said Kevin Mulrooney of JSK, grant writers who specialize in fire departments.

The Williston Park fire district received $56,000; Bethpage received $44,000; Great Neck Alert $86,000; Great Neck Vigilant $82,000; Levittown $80,500; and Plandome received $84,400.

Manhasset-Lakeville, which is both a fire and water district, received about $120,000 to hire two employees; one will be a paid emergency medical technician and firefighter who also will do some computer work, and the other will do fire inspections, said Commissioner Andrew DeMartin.

Three smaller grants of $1,000 for protective gear were given to Roslyn Highlands, South Hempstead and Floral Park Centre fire districts from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

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