BY ANDREAS YILMA
BEACON FALLS — Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 was awarded over $60,000 in a grant to help the fire department purchase new life saving equipment.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded the fire department $64,463 with the Assistance to Firefighters Grant on Jan. 6. The grant goes along with the town’s match of about $3,200 in order for the firefighters to purchase new spreaders, cutters, rams and stabilization equipment.
Beacon Hose Co. No. 1 Fire Chief Brian P. DeGeorge said fire officials haven’t decided on what exactly to acquire.
The FEMA grant is an annual grant and the fire department has been applying for this grant for three years. Fire officials worked with Town Finance Manager Natasha Nau and the $3,200 match was already in the budget, DeGeorge said.
Beacon Hose fire officials met with equipment vendors at the firehouse on Jan. 19 to begin the demonstration process before they decide on what to buy.
Fire officials met with Flash Fire Industries for a demonstration of Paratech stabilization struts and air bags that could be used for vehicle stabilization and shoring up buildings that collapse or there is the need for a trench rescue. Beacon Hose members also met with Northeastern Fire Associates to see a line of battery-powered hydraulic extrication equipment.
The department’s current equipment is old and worn down, DeGeorge said.
“These tools will add to our current capabilities for remote extrication and portability,” Beacon Hose Assistant Chief Cal Brennan said. “With the Paratech kit, we can effectively stabilize and lift anything that’s legally able to be transported on the road or rails.”
DeGeorge said the purchases will give firefighters more portability of equipment.
“This stuff gives us more opportunity to go into the woods,” DeGeorge said.
DeGeorge said many of Beacon Hose’s emergency responses are for motor vehicle accidents including the accidents on Route 8.
“It’s no secret that the stretch of highway that runs through our town is a frequent spot for accidents, and the new equipment will not only improve our emergency capabilities, but it will lessen our reliance on some equipment that has been in service for more than 30 years,” DeGeorge said.
How many pieces or exactly what kinds of equipment will be bought was uncertain. But the fire department will be purchasing all new 2023 equipment.
A decision on what will be purchased is expected by March, DeGeorge said.
The fire department plans to demonstrate some more equipment in the first days of February.