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Fire dept. earns federal grant

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., announced Wednesday that the Laconia Fire Department has been awarded a $33,003 fire safety federal grant.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program provides funding to local fire departments to help them improve the effectiveness of firefighting operations through specialized training for response to emergency situations.
"New Hampshire firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect our families and our communities," Shaheen said. "These funds will help ensure that firefighters in Laconia have the resources they need to continue doing their job safely and effectively."
Fire Chief Ken Erickson said the grant will allow his department to replace its old carbon monoxide meter. He said the old meter, used to measure levels of carbon monoxide and other explosive or deadly gasses, was becoming increasingly difficult to recalibrate and replace the filters.
Erickson said the grant will also purchase the stand-alone meters that are attached to the medical equipment.
"These meters go with the firefighter into every medical call," said Erickson, who added that some emergency calls for influenza symptoms and fainting are actually carbon monoxide poisoning and the victims don't know it.
The final piece of equipment is a bunker gear washer extractor dryer for the Weirs station.
Erickson said all the equipment used by firefighters must be decontaminated, especially after fires, and this machine will help wash and dry it.
"It kind of looks like a skeleton," said Erickson, who added that it also preserves the life of boots, coats and pants and helps to quick dry clothing so firefighters don't have to put on wet gear. Until now, Erickson said the Weirs team had to use the dryers at the Laconia Station.