New London firefighters awarded $250,000 for rope training, safety enhancements
New London — Federal money is aiding the city fire department in taking preventative measures against cancer rates, as well as training for technical rescues in anticipation of upcoming work under the Gold Star Memorial Bridge.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney announced the department was awarded a $251,799 grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The city is contributing $25,179.
The bulk of the grant will help certify firefighters through a technical high angle rope rescue program offered by the Connecticut Fire Academy. The funding also will cover nearly $50,000 in rope rescue equipment and $136,100 to cover overtime costs associated with sending the firefighters through the training.
Fire Chief Henry Kydd said the department will be prepared in the event a rescue is needed as contractors begin work on the southern span of the Gold Star, along with high-rise buildings in the city and throughout the region.
A $28,980 portion of the money will go toward the purchase of commercial-grade washers, or extractors, and dryers for cleaning soiled turnout gear at each of the city’s three fire stations.
Kydd said gear becomes contaminated with a host of chemicals, fluids and particulate matter during responses to fires and medical calls. Washing gear at the station prevents it from spreading the contamination in the station or to firefighters’ homes.
Kydd, who said he knows at least a dozen retired firefighters with cancer, said it is one in a series of steps the department has taken through the years to lower cancer risks.