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New Haven Hose Company awarded $25,000

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 12:46 a.m.

A New Haven Hose Company will be able to get new and required equipment thanks to a federal grant it will receive.

New Haven Hose has been awarded a $25,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Department of Homeland Security.

The grant will help the department replace obsolete hoses, supply lines and nozzles that fail to meet safety requirements established by the National Fire Protection Association.

“We had some equipment that was outdated based on the new standards,” said New Haven Fire Chief Bob Topper. The standards covered compromised equipment that has sustained ware and tear in the line of duty, Topper explained.

The fire department will start the purchase process for the equipment next week, said the chief. He expects some of the equipment to arrive a few weeks after the order is placed. Other equipment may arrive sometime in June.

“Sometimes, it's a long process,” Topper said. The department applied for the grant late in 2013.

Topper said New Have has applied to AFG since the competitive grant program started in 2001. It has been fortunate to be awarded the grant three years in a row. Last year, the grant was used for personal equipment gear, and the year before, the money was used for new radios. For the past three years the department has received a total of $185,000.

“The New Haven Hose Company is grateful to receive an Assistance to Firefighters Grant,” Topper said.

Topper said the grant is much needed because volunteer fire departments — especially one with the coverage size of New Haven Hose — should follow an order of importance of answering calls, training and fundraising like many paid fire departments do, but volunteer fire departments have to put fundraising ahead of everything else.

“People expect the same level of competence from us, even though we're volunteers, but someone still needs to pay for that,” Topper said.

Topper said the public gets great work from New Haven volunteers.

“People really need to support the fire department so we can do as little fundraising as possible,” he said.

Topper said the department is making time to fit in state training and certification classes. Members are currently completing basic rigging training to be certified with ropes, knots and a hauling system. In June, department members will go through repelling training that will be conducted at East Park.

Other training activities scheduled for the remainder of the year cover structural collapse, Hazmat operations and water safety awareness.

Topper said running a fire department is much like running a business and to attract the best, the department must have the best equipment, best reputation and best working atmosphere.

“Nobody should want to take those aspects away,” Topper said. “It makes them (the volunteer firefighters) want to train and answers the calls. That's what you strive to be.”

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539.

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