Middletown Fire Department gets federal funds to replace oxygen masks

Middletown will receive more than $370,000 in federal funds for fire department operations.

The $337,690 grant is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants program.

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Middletown Division of Fire Chief Paul Lolli said the money will be used to replace the department’s 75 self-contained breathing apparatus. The lifespan for the air bottles is about 10 years, and that’s about the age of the bottles. There is not lifespan for the masks used, but he said they do wear down over time.

“We’re always looking to improve the safety of our personnel, especially when it comes to personal protective equipment,” Lolli said.

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Lolli anticipates the self-contained breathing apparatus units will be replaced by the spring and the city would have to pay 10 percent of the grant, which is around $36,000. That money was planned to be spent, Lolli said.

Lolli said firefighters Ben Butlman and Chris Klug spearheaded the grant applications and deserve “attaboy” kudos.

“It’s $337,000 and now we won’t have to find (that amount) in the city’s budget,” Lolli said.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a statement announcing the funds that “Ohio firefighters and first-responders work every day to protect our families. We must support our first-responder organizations so that communities like Middletown have the resources to shield families and homes from fire hazards.”

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