Soon, Watertown Firefighters will have modern equipment to use when going into areas with dangerous fumes, and will be able to be located more easily should the get lost or injured in a fire.
The Watertown Fire Department received the Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the federal Department of Homeland Security. The Town Council approved the town’s share, $22,163, while the federal government will pay for $221,637, Town Manager Michael Driscoll said.
The money will pay for a set of 31 self-contained breathing apparatuses, said Fire Chief Mario Orangio.
“This allows us to enter building in hazardous conditions,” Orangio said.
Orangio said he remembers the first time the department got breathing apparatuses. They were used ones passed on from the Newton Fire Department. The current set was purchased in 1997, and have reached the end of their useful lives, he said.
The equipment also has trackers that can be used to find a downed firefighter.
“It sends out a signal and we can use a machine like a thermal imager to help find a downed firefigheter much more quickly,” Orangio said.
This is just the latest grant Orangio has gotten for the Fire Department. Driscoll noted that he has secured $1.1 million in federal grants in recent years, including the SAFER grant, which paid the salary of four firefighters for two years.