ELLSWORTH, Maine — The Ellsworth Fire Department has received a $97,727 grant from the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
The grant is part of more than $368,000 in funds awarded recently through the grant program by the Department of Homeland Security. Grants also were awarded to the Naples Fire Department, $47,842, and the Bridgewater Fire Department, $32,471.
The Mattawamkeag Fire and Rescue Department also will receive $190,000 in funding though the DHS Vehicle Acquisition Program.
The Ellsworth grant is actually two grants that will include about $43,000 for a truck-mounted exhaust filter system, with the remainder of about $55,000 to be used for a portable air compressor and storage unit for breathable air, according to Ellsworth Fire Chief Jon Marshall.
Marshall said the department already has a compressor in-house that is used to fill air tanks for the breathing apparatus firefighters use. The new unit, he said, comes mounted on a trailer so it can be taken to a fire scene or training site. The department’s new unit will include a compressor, storage for four bottles of air and a fill station.
During larger fires, fire crews often will have to refill the air tanks which means either ferrying the tanks back and forth to the fire station or bringing in someone with a portable unit. The department also will use the new unit during off-site training sessions that often involve large numbers of firefighters.
The exhaust filtration system for the department’s trucks will help to eliminate exhaust fumes from the station and from City Hall, Marshall said.
“We put an exhaust system in when we renovated the building in 1998 to remove the diesel exhaust,” Marshall said.
“But it never functioned quite as well as we would have liked.”
Exhaust often remained in the bays of the station and also drifted upstairs where the fumes could be smelled in City Hall offices, he said. The new filters are designed to remove carbon monoxide and other particulate matter from the exhaust. They will be mounted on the department’s trucks and will begin filtering as soon as the trucks are started.
“It should be safe for everyone coming to City Hall,” Marshall said.