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Morristown Fire Department looks to FEMA for funding

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MORRISTOWN — The Morristown Volunteer Fire Department is applying for a $182,000 grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Fire Chief Kevin J. Crosby said the grant money would be put toward buying new turnout gear, a washer for the gear and specially designed bailout systems.

Mr. Crosby said the bailout systems are essentially harnesses built into the turnout gear that will allow firefighters to escape more easily from multistory buildings by rappeling out of windows.

The gear is for “a major emergency,” he said, where firefighters are not able to access the stairs or the ladder they used to get into the building.

The paperwork for the grant was submitted in early December, Mr. Crosby said, and he expects to hear back from FEMA in six to eight months.

The competition for the Assistance for Firefighters grant is steep. Because the grant is available nationwide, there are potentially thousands of other fire departments applying for the same funding.

For that reason, Mr. Crosby said, he worked personally on the application, including arguments as to how beneficial the funding would be for the town.

Mr. Crosby said last year’s grant saw about 9,000 departments turn in applications for part of a $450 million pool.

But Morristown already has won two grants through the same program, Mr. Crosby said.

In 2005, the department purchased new turnout gear and in 2006 it was able to use the funding for a new firetruck.

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