The Vancouver Fire Department received $937,000 in federal grant money for new equipment and training programs, the department announced Friday.
The funds come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and will be used for two projects: replacing 107 outdated breathing apparatus units and providing specialized training in responding to hazardous materials.
“This grant funding allows us to move forward with replacing vitally important equipment and provide additional training for fire department staff,” Vancouver Fire Chief Joe Molina said in a media release.
The department’s self-contained breathing apparatus units, or SCBAs, no longer meet standards from the National Fire Protection Association.
“The SCBAs provide breathable air in dangerous atmospheres and are one of the most essential pieces of personal protective equipment in the fire service today,” Molina said in the release. “And the ability to send our staff to hazardous materials response training will help us create strong response plans for addressing these types of risks.
The VFD plans to start spending the money — on both training and new equipment — early next year.
In the media release, Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle thanked U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, for her help in securing the funds.
“The city of Vancouver is grateful for the support of our congressional delegation in securing this grant,” McEnerny-Ogle said.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program allocates funds to fire departments across the country for various projects. In Washington, 11 other jurisdictions were awarded grants, including Pierce County Fire District 6 in Tacoma ($315,642), Whatcom Fire District in Ferndale ($485,692) and Grays Harbor Fire Protection District No. 5 ($391,047).
Vancouver’s award was by far the largest in the state.