GEMA grant improves firefighting skills - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GEMA grant improves firefighting skills

April 21, 2004

Hahira - Firefighters are stepping up their game. "It's just one step in providing better service to the public," said Dwight Bennett, Fire Chief.

Nearly forty-seven thousand dollars from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency will buy new and improved equipment to take this fire department to the next level. "What we're buying is a portable cascade system which services the breathing systems we have," said Bennett.

The 12 foot trailer system will allow firefighters to refill their air tanks within minutes on the scene. It also has an advanced lighting and generator system. "If we have to do a night time emergency call we can light the scene up and emergency generators so we can run additional equipment to support hazmat teams," said Bennett.

A few months ago, the department got $67,000.00 from FEMA. Equipment from that grant came in this week. "Large sets or turnout gear from head to toe and some new air packs," said Bennett.

They also bought a thermal imaging camera that detects body heat. "We can identify persons that may be trapped in a home that we can't see with our naked eye, we can use this camera to locate those downed persons," said Bennett.

The new equipment is great news for homeowners here in Hahira. Not only will firefighters be better prepared to protect their homes, they should also see a decrease in their homeowners insurance. "Right now our ISO rating is a seven, and since I took this job as fire chief that's been my major focus, to lower the ISO rating," said Bennett.

But the is real benefit is knowing these firefighters will have the tools they need to keep you and your family safe.

posted at 4:15 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com