Money to buy new firefighting gear


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — As in any profession, technology for firefighters is always improving. But keeping up with the new lifesaving gadgets can be very expensive. Wednesday, the Hartford Fire Department got a big check to help with that.

In fact, the check was so big it took three politicians to hold it up. It’s for close to a million dollars from what’s called an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from FEMA, and it will buy much-needed new and updated technology.

“This equipment is literally lifesaving, for the firefighters and for the people they rescue,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT).

The bulk of that equipment will be contained in a new trailer used to rescue people in high buildings, from the river, or from bad car crashes. Or, in firefighter language:

“This vital equipment will better prepare us to meet the day to day challenges that we will face,” said Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas. “Now and in future encounters as it relates to high angle rescue, swift water rescue, protracted motor vehicle crashes and extrications.”

The money will also update the airpacks firefighters rely on to breathe in smoke-filled buildings. Some current ones are more than a decade old. Without the grant, it might not get replaced. The city simply doesn’t have the money.

“We go through the most agonizing painful process of trying to ensure that we at a minimum are able to fulfill our obligation to keep the residents of our city safe,” said Mayor Pedro Segarra, (D-Hartford)

The Hartford Fire Department says it is very fortunate. In the past decade it’s gotten around $5 million in grant money like this from Washington.

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