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The Williamstown Fire Department saw a need to improve communication between firefighters, but it would cost a lot of money to correct.
Williamstown Fire Chief Les Whalen requested the money through a grant and was rewarded for his efforts.
Thanks to a federal grant for $155,532, the fire department can do just that.
U.S. Congressman Geoff Davis presented the money to Whalen and Williamstown Mayor Glenn Caldwell.
The grant was part of the 2008 Fire Act Grant Funding which says preference is given to equipment needs that will improve firefighter health and safety or that promotes better communication between departments.
The money will be used to upgrade communications and accountability system, mainly to purchase a second repeated fire channel for all departments in the county.
“This will allow us to know where are firefighters are at all times, regardless of radio traffic or human error and that will directly increase their safety,” said Whalen.
The new equipment will assist in improving communication during a prolonged incident or when two or more incidents happen simultaneously. The second repeated channel will allow firefighters to talk to the incident commander or the dispatch center, even when the primary frequency is in use.
Whalen said the Williamstown Fire Department has received six AFG grants and he credited Davis and his staff for assisting in getting the grants. Davis’ staff conducts an annual grant workshop providing information and assistance for those seeking federal funds.
“We believe both these purchases will make our departments safer and more efficient on any incident,” Whalen said. “Thanks to the AFG our department has been able to make critical improvements to our services, which allows us to better protect our local residents and to provide for our firefighter’s safety.”