Colton’s Fire Department received approximately $276,000 from the Department of Homeland Security to replace aging equipment used by firefighters to withstand harmful air.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, assists fire departments across the country to acquire necessary equipment to fend off blazes and emergency situations. As of July 28, about 1,300 agencies across the nation have benefitted from the federal award, according to the DHS website.
Battalion Chief Dana DeAntonio said the grant will be used to replace 44 self-contained breathing apparatuses that are used by firefighters entering dangerous situations, such as indoor fires and toxic environments.
Breathing apparatus device components include a high-pressure tank, a pressure regulator, and inhalation connection, DeAntonio explained.
“For us to be awarded this grant is huge,” DeAntonio said. “It will provide huge savings for the residents and for the city.
Battalion Chief Con Cendejas, who sought the grant for the department, said each specific apparatus costs about $6,000. Firefighters within the department have been using aging devices that are about 15-years-old and due to expire in October, Cendejas reported.
“This equipment will keep our men and women safe in the line of duty,” said Cendejas. “We’re grateful for the federal assistance for our community and hope to continue working with Rep. Aguilar to secure the support we need to serve Inland Empire families.”
Congressman Pete Aguilar, who helped secure the grant for Colton Fire, said he’s glad to see federal dollars are being invested on the region’s first responders.
“Our region knows all too well the importance of emergency preparedness,” said Aguilar. “Bringing home federal funds to support our region is a significant part of my job and I’ll keep fighting to ensure we have access to the resources we need.”