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Berlin gets federal grant for fire department equipment

BERLIN — The city has been awarded $167,952 in Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to replace aging breathing apparatus for the fire department.

The grant, which the city applied for in December, will replace 20 self-contained breathing apparatus along with 40 cylinders and 20 masks. The new breathing apparatus will replace equipment that ranges from 10 to 15 years old and does not meet current standards.

Berlin was one of five New Hampshire communities to receive a grant from FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. In all, $85,995 was awarded to fire departments in the state. Also receiving grants were Keene, Pittsfield, Holderness and New Hampton.

The grants were announced Wednesday by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee along with U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.).

The AFG program provides direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments in order to enhance the safety of firefighters and the public. The grants can be used for training, equipment acquisition, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness activities and modifications of fire/EMS stations. 

Hassan advocated for many of these grants to New Hampshire fire departments as the top Democrat on the subcommittee that oversees FEMA.

“These federal dollars will go a long way towards ensuring first responders throughout New Hampshire have the tools and resources they need to safeguard their health and well-being while on duty,” said Shaheen who helped to secure the funding as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which is responsible for funding the AFG program.

“Each and every day, firefighters across New Hampshire put their lives at risk to protect us and keep our communities safe,” Kuster said.