Fire departments are working together to upgrade emergency equipment

Franklin, Carlisle and Franklin Twp. fire departments are teaming up to apply for a federal grant to obtain new self-contained breathing apparatus equipment for all three departments.

Franklin Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf recently told Franklin City Council that the department would be the lead agency for the application that is due Feb. 2 for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant that is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Westendorf said they are working on the regional grant for up to $540,000 to replace the SCBAs for the three fire departments and would require a local match of 5 percent of about $26,000 from the three communities. This includes new masks, air cylinder, backpacks and two spare cylinders for each firefighters in each department.

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“It would help with the scoring for the grant and we all use the same equipment,” he said.

Westendorf said it would cost the city about $100,000 just to replace the air cylinders alone which due to be replaced in 2020. The air cylinders have a lifespan of about 10 years, according to officials.

Westendorf also told council that the city is also seeking a $25,000 microgrant for a fire simulator using several shipping containers to create a maze to train firefighters with flashover fires as well as search and rescue training. He said the simulator would be located near the police firing range.

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Another grant option for the Franklin Fire & EMS Department would be to seek up to $75,000 to replace and refresh the department’s specialized rescue equipment and ropes for various types of river, trench, confined spaces, and ice rescues. Westendorf said the local match for that grant option would be about $3,750 for the local match.

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