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Detroit Firefighters Receive New Gear, Lifesaving Equipment

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit firefighters are getting some new protective gear, as well as 100 automatic defibrillators, thanks in part to a $1.75 million Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) grant.

Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin says 645 sets of fire-resistant coats and pants are ready to be handed out. Another 332 sets of gear are expected in about six weeks. All together, it’s enough gear to outfit 70 percent of the city’s firefighters.

The 977 sets of gear were paid for by a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant, combined with nearly $1 million identified by Mayor Dave Bing in the Detroit budget to meet a municipal contribution requirement under the grant program.

The money also paid for 100 automatic defibrillators that will be used to respond to heart attacks and other heart-related emergencies, along with seven air-filling stations used to refresh the compressed air tanks that firefighters wear in order to breathe when surrounded by heavy smoke.

“I am extremely pleased that nearly every Detroit firefighter will soon have brand new protective gear and emergency equipment, thanks to our partnership with FEMA,” Bing said in a release. “Our men and women in the Detroit Fire Department risk their lives to save others and it is imperative that they are well-equipped to do their job,” the mayor said.

Detroit has been awarded two Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grants from FEMA this year, totaling $28.3 million. The money prevented 108 firefighters from being laid off, allowed the city to rehire 26 laid-off firefighters, and paid for two years of salaries and benefits for both groups of firefighters.

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