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FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2007
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Grant to outfit Athens firefighters with new gear

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — A $228,299 grant will fund the replacement of aging gear at the Athens Fire Department.

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, announced that Athens will receive the money from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

Fire Chief Cliff Christopher said the money will buy self-contained breathing apparatuses and turnout gear for 39 firefighters.

The apparatuses are the portable breathing units that firefighters
carry.

Turnout gear is their protective coats and pants.

"We've got some gear that has some age on it, so we are fortunate to get this big grant," Christopher said.

"This will allow us to purchase all-new equipment that is the most up-to-date safetywise."

The grant program assists rural, urban and suburban fire departments through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office for Domestic Preparedness in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

"Athens deserves this funding from the Department of Homeland Security," Cramer said.

"Every day our firefighters put themselves on the front lines, and it is important that they have the equipment and training they need to protect our lives and our property."

Christopher said the grant requires a 5 percent match, which he'll ask the Athens City Council to approve at its Monday meeting.

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