Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

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DePere Fire Department gets federal grant for safety

De Pere Fire Department gets federal grant for safety

Green Bay Press Gazette

DE PERE — A $43,000 federal grant is helping the De Pere Fire Department purchase new safety gear, including glasses, boots, hoods and flashlights.

It’s the third year in a row the department has received an Assistance to Firefighters Grant, which helps fire and EMS departments pay for things such as equipment, vehicles and training. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency offer the grants.

The De Pere Fire Department has received more than $250,000 in these grants over the past three years, De Pere Fire Chief Robert Kiser said.

This year’s grant will pay for 50 pairs of gloves, boots and safety glasses; 50 hoods and flashlights; and six sets of heavy coats and pants. The department has 48 firefighters, officials said.

The money also is paying for about 30 light-duty coats department personnel wear on EMS calls, Kiser said. The grant money will help replace some aging equipment, he said.

"We are happy to upgrade and make our firefighters safer through this grant," Kiser said Monday.

Firefighters are not allowed to use coats and pants that are more than 10 years old to fight structural fires because they don’t meet National Fire Protection Association safety standards, De Pere Fire Assistant Chief Jim Stupka said.

"It’s a serious need. We use this gear every day," Kiser said.

Past grants have helped the station install laptop computers in vehicles and replace hoses that were about 30 years old. Hoses normally are replaced every 10 to 15 years, Kiser said.

In the future, Kiser said the department hopes to receive grants to replace its rescue boat and an aging ladder truck.

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, was in De Pere Monday to announce the funding.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program was established in 2001. By 2009 the program had provided about $4 billion to fire and EMS departments, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security fact sheet.


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