Fire departments for Albion and Fairfield-Benton have been awarded grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase some new pieces of equipment.

FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant gave Albion Fire-Rescue $342,666 and Fairfield and Benton Fire Rescue Department $125,240.

The AFG program was established in 2001 to help firefighters and other first responders purchase needed resources that are necessary to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and other hazards.

Chief Andrew Clark of Albion Fire-Rescue said the funds will be used to replace its large diameter hose and purchase a new tanker truck.

“The hose we need to replace so I put in for the grant this year,” Clark said during a phone call Tuesday. “It’s pretty expensive, so I knew it was one of those things that was difficult to pay through the budget or capital so I figured I’d try the grant. Right now we have two tank trucks. We have a 1979 and a 1995 (model) and the goal was to replace both of those with one tank truck. And that’s something that’s been in the works for a while.”

Clark said that he’s applied for this grant for nine years before finally receiving the funds this year.

“This is my ninth attempt,” Clark said. “I just kept at it. … I’ve been putting in for this, tweaking it and we were successful. … This is especially exciting for the tax payers. That’s less money we’re going to have to ask for in the future, because it was definitely coming down the road. The age of the trucks were there so we’re really excited that we could do this through federal funding and we don’t have to put that on the tax payers. ”

Albion Fire-Rescue has 40 volunteer firefighters on its roster.

The Fairfield and Benton Fire Rescue Department will use its grant money to purchase 20 new self-contained breathing apparatuses, which are the devices worn by firefighters that provide breathable air in a dangerous atmosphere.

“Last year we had to replace our bottles because the life span expired. You can’t use them after 15 years,” Chief Duane Bickford said. “Then the units themselves are 15 years old so now is the time to replace them.”

Bickford said this was the third time the department applied for the grant to replace the self-contained breathing apparatuses.

The devices are expected to be in service by Oct. 1.

The Fairfield-Benton fire department employs six full-time firefighters and emergency medical technicians and has roughly 20 volunteer firefighters.

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