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Posted on: September 27, 2019

Washington County Fire Departments Team Up and Win $2.9 Million Grant for Firefighting Equipment

Air Tank Evaluation Project

Washington County’s six fire departments were notified last week that they received a grant valued at $2,999,000 to replace self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). An SCBA allows a firefighter to work in toxic and smoke-filled conditions present in every structure fire and on hazardous materials events, providing them with clean, breathable air. 

This grant is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant, and is one of the largest grants ever awarded. The six departments will match a total $272,636 to fund the project.

This project was coordinated by the Washington County Fire Defense Board, which is comprised of all the fire chiefs in Washington County. In 2015, the chiefs began planning for the replacement of their SCBAs, many of which will reach their end-of-service life in 2021-22. The board established committees to research the latest SCBA technology and seek funding options.

This important grant will enable Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Hillsboro Fire & Rescue, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, Cornelius Fire Department - Oregon, the Gaston Rural Fire District, and Banks Fire District 13 to replace their aging inventory of 427 SCBA with new state-of-the-art breathing apparatus, as well as acquire 318 extra face masks. 

Washington County’s firefighters routinely cross jurisdictional lines to support each other through a coordinated automatic and mutual-aid system. The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters. This funding is for critically needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operational efficiencies, foster interoperability, and support community resilience.

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