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Turnout gear, camera new at township fire department

January 05, 2011 - The Groveland Township Fire Department will soon be looking good and working a little safer.

Township Fire Chief Steve McGee announced last week the department has received a $117,000 grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grants. The federal program helps meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations.

The township will pay 5 percent of the grant or about $5,800. With the money McGee said all new protective gear or "turnout" gear will be purchased. The department will need 46 uniforms for all on-call and full time firefighters.

"Some of our current turnout gear is 12-years-old," said McGee. "The new gear is much lighter and incorporates a host of new safety features."

The department will also purchase a thermal image camera designed to help give "sight" to firefighters while inside a burning building.

"We have never had a (thermal) camera and believe it will be a big asset to the department. Some of the other departments in our area utilize the camera on a regular basis."

McGee said the camera will help determine if a fire is still active inside a wall or find the location of a firefighter or victim in a burning building.

Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

McGee said that over the past three years the department has lost about 44 percent of its budget due to a drop in property values.

"The grant has come in at a time when our revenues are declining," he said. "The money will help keep the Groveland firefighters safe."

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