Grant means new equipment for Burton Fire District

2 mins read

On the 18th anniversary of 9/11, a particularly somber day for firefighters, the Burton Fire District started their day with some uplifting news to which they give credit for, and honor to, the 343 firefighters who gave their lives in 2001.

On Sept. 11, 2019, the Burton Fire District received notification that it has been awarded a $273,000 grant from the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant program to replace 27 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). The SCBAs currently utilized by the Burton Fire District are almost two decades old, and with new national standards anticipated next year, they are also quickly falling out of compliance.

The new SCBAs will be placed on all of Burton’s front line-first response fire apparatus, and the remaining serviceable SCBAs will be held in reserve, or used for training purposes. 

Currently the SCBAs utilized by the fire district are interchangeable with neighboring fire departments, a trend the Burton Fire District started after 9/11. This allows fire departments who are working together on large scenes to share equipment and work more efficiently.

Proper respiratory protection has been a growing concern and focus for firefighters over the last decade as cancer rates in firefighters are statistically higher. Most recently, comedian and actor John Stewart, brought national attention to the first responders of 9/11 who have developed respiratory diseases and cancers attributed to breathing in toxic dust while working at Ground Zero.

“Getting this grant to help upgrade and maintain critical equipment without placing the burden on our taxpayers is great news,” Burton Fire Chief Harry Rountree said in a release. “But to receive that news on 9/11, and for equipment so vital to the safety and protection of firefighters, makes this grant extra special, and we fully credit those lost on 9/11 for helping provide this funding possibility.”

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