Rep. Lipinski Works to Improve Firefighter Safety in South Suburbs
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) announced today that a partnership of eight south suburban fire departments has been awarded a $568,483 grant from the Department of Homeland Security toward the purchase of a new portable radio system that meets federal operating standards and improves safety through state-of-the-art electronic monitoring capabilities that can better locate firefighters who are in danger. The grant was awarded to the Garden Homes Fire Protection District, serving portions of unincorporated Cook County near Alsip, Merrionette Park and Chicago, on behalf of fire departments in Alsip, Blue Island, Calumet Park, Dixmoor, Midlothian, Palos Heights and Palos Park.
“Giving our first responders the tools they need to do their jobs is critical to improving their safety and allowing them to continue with the top-notch service they provide to our communities,” Rep. Lipinski said. “I’m proud to announce this grant, which will purchase a modern communications system that should give greater peace of mind to the brave men and women at our fire departments who risk their lives every day.”
The $568,483 will help purchase new portable radios that are compliant with Federal Communications Commission requirements for emergency radios to operate under certain bandwidths. The radios also include distress buttons that send an alert to an incident commander if a firefighter is trapped or under distress and requires assistance. The population served by the eight departments is more than 110,000, encompassing 24 square miles.
“This grant will have a tremendous regional benefit by upgrading essential communications equipment at several fire departments,” said Garden Homes Fire Protection District Chief Rick Koopman. “Our highest priority is making sure we provide the best care and service to the communities we serve. On behalf of the eight departments who will be receiving these new radios, we are thankful for the congressman's work on behalf of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.”
The grant is awarded through the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. In the 2012 fiscal year, the program will award approximately $337.5 million to fire departments and EMS organizations nationwide to enhance their response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public and emergency response personnel.
For more information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, visit www.fema.gov/welcome-assistance-firefighters-grant-program.
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