FEMA Grant Brings Breath of Fresh Air

GOSHEN, MA – In the fall of 2017, the Goshen Fire Department (GFD) applied for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) through the through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS).

In early summer 2018, we were notified that we were awarded a FY2017 AFG grant in the amount of $90,667.

The award stated that “after careful consideration, FEMA has determined that the recipient’s project submitted as part of the recipient’s application, and detailed in the project narrative as well as the request details section of the application – including budget information – was consistent with the AFG program’s purpose and was worthy of award.”

The AFG program requires a 5-percent ($4,533) match from the award recipient which was paid for out of the GFD’s FY19 budget allowance.  Our goal was to replace existing Dräger Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) units – many of which had been in service since the mid-1990’s and had reached the end of their lifespan.

In the fall of 2019, GFD members brought in equipment from MSA, Scott and Dräger.  After testing units from all three vendors, it was decided to go with Dräger units again.

Working with Joe Beltrani of Strategic Safety Dynamics in Smithtown, NY, we were able to acquire 14 SCBA’s, 28 carbon composite air cylinders customized with the department logo, 24 face masks with integrated voice amplifiers and 1 Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) pack.

The new units have several advantages that GFD members will benefit from.  They include:

  • Smaller profile 4,500 psi quick-connect bottles that still provide 30 minutes of breathing air to replace our current larger profile 2200 psi bottles.
  • Integrated voice amplifiers to allow for clear external communication
  • Dual side speakers in the mask that allow users to hear communications from other firefighters
  • Digital noise reduction that automatically suppresses ambient noises and only transmits your voice
  • The voice-activated function provides full-duplex communication. This means that you can talk and listen to your team at the same time – as if you were on the phone – which allows for better teamwork on the fire ground.

The units have now been assembled and placed in service on Engine 2, Engine 7 and Rescue 1.

AFG Grant for Drager SCBA Equipment
Joe Beltrani (second from right) from Strategic Safety Dynamics reviews the intricacies of the face masks with GFD members (from L to R) FF Dale Gougeon, Capt. Monica Neveu, Chief Sue Labrie, FF Keith Wright and FF Cam Lacey.
AFG Grant for Drager SCBA Equipment
As part of our training, GFD members actually went over the instruction manuals before using the units for the first time.
Tri-Town drill at the Burgy Smokehouse, Training
The new units were first put to the test at the Burgy Smokehouse a few weeks after our original training.

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