ALPLAUS — The Alplaus Fire Department was awarded a federal grant for almost $22,000 this week to purchase extrication equipment and a fire gear dryer.
The Alplaus Fire Department, Glenville Fire District No. 2, was awarded a $21,838 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The 2022 adopted budget for the Glenville Fire District No. 2 is $397,403.
“We’re happy to get this grant, and we’re so thankful to all those who helped us secure it,” said Fire Chief Andrew Coppola.
The gear dryer will allow the department to get its gear back in service more quickly after it is washed, Chief Andrew Coppola said. Gear worn by firefighters to protect them while they are fighting a fire needs to be washed after because of smoke and carcinogens and the risks they can pose. Cleaning the gear helps to reduce the risk of cancer, Coppola said.
“It’s very, very important to wash our gear as quickly as possible,” Coppola said. “Our gear would take two to three days to dry. So this gear dryer will get our gear back in service in hours, instead of days.”
The department has limited extra gear, Coppola said. The extra gear is not fit all of the members. Only one or two sets of gear could be washed at a time, he explained.
“We would have to really space out how long it would take to clean the gear after a fire,” Coppola said. “So this is going to get us back in service a lot quicker, and keep the members a lot safer a lot quicker.”
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Extrication equipment is designed to help people who are trapped. The extrication equipment will help the department with any automobile-based extraction as well as water-based extrications, Coppola said.
“We have a floodwater and we are working on a swift-water rescue team,” Coppola said. “The extrication equipment we’re looking for is battery-operated, waterproof equipment to assist us in any kind of water-based extrication as well as vehicle-based extrication.”
Coppola thanked U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko D-Amsterdam, and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for their assistance in being awarded the grant. They wrote letters of support for the department to go along with their application.
“Our Capital Region’s firefighters work on the front lines every day, putting their lives on the line to protect our communities and our families,” Tonko said in a statement. “It is critical that we do our part by making certain that our local fire departments have the training, equipment and manpower necessary to do their jobs safely and efficiently. I’m proud to deliver this funding that will secure needed equipment upgrades for the Alplaus Fire Department, and I’ll never stop fighting to make sure our first responders have the resources they need.”
The department applies for a grant every year, Coppola said. He explained applications are scored, and awarded based on several factors, such as need.
“The last grant we were awarded prior to this was in 2005,” Coppola said. “And we’ve put in a request for a grant almost every year since then. So you don’t put in an application and just get a grant.”
The 2005 grant was awarded for $45,000 for breathing apparatus equipment.
The department asked for additional gear and equipment in this year’s application, which would have amounted to $35,000, Coppola said.
“A couple of the things that we asked for we’re not considered high on the priority list,” Coppola said. “And they were able to take what might have been that extra $14,000 that we asked for that was not high on the priority list and awarded it to someone else, who have a greater need on the list. It’s a fair process, and it goes through quite a few reviews.”