The City of Allentown has been awarded a $365,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant for new self-contained breathing apparatuses. The funding comes from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We are buying 74 of these units,” Interim Allentown Fire Chief Bob Kudlak said in a news release from the city. “They will be replacing our current 10-year-old equipment. The existing units were compliant with the standards established at that time; since then the standards have been amended in 2008 and 2013. The new units will comply with the standards currently in place. We hope to have these new units in our possession and in service this summer.”
The air paks are assigned to city fire engines. Each firefighter has his own mask.
“We are very pleased that our grant application has been approved,” said Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “Nothing is more important than public safety. Since 2006, we have made tremendous strides in improving our firefighting capability and enhancing the safety of our firefighters.
The city has purchased five new fire fighting vehicles since 2009, including two new engines, one rescue pumper and two 100 foot aerials. Grant funding was secured to install new ventilation systems in every fire station and the city has purchased the best turn out gear on the market for full body protection; the best helmets, boots and gloves. A new East Side Fire Station opened in February.
Kudlak said, “The Allentown Fire Department is grateful to receive this Assistance to Firefighters Grant. These funds will play an essential role in ensuring that the department is able to purchase upgraded Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses, which provide breathable air to firefighters while they work to contain a blaze. We thank Senator Pat Toomey for his support of the Allentown Fire Department and for his assistance during the AFG process.”
FEMA announced the award of 43 Assistance to Firefighters grants this month. Allentown was awarded the highest allocation.