Firefighters Need Every Precaution When Risking Their Lives

People who risk their lives for others are special kinds of heroes in our society, and firefighters, who every day risk their lives to help others in times of crisis are some such heroes. Many firehouses are unfortunately underfunded and may be comprised primarily or entirely of volunteers. In fact, according to the National Fire Association, 69% of all firefighters are volunteers. It’s always great to hear when a firehouse receives a grant to fund much-needed resources. In New Hamburg, the New Hamburg Fire District has received a critical federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to replace 35 radios for interior firefighters. 

This Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters grant in the amount of $98,000 has allowed the New Hamburg Fire District to purchase the new radios. They are all in accordance with National Fire Protection Association compliance. The radios are crucial to firefighter and civilian safety and come with safety features that help firefighters as they operate in hazardous, potentially deadly situations.   

New Hamburg Fire District Chief, Jeffrey Renihan had much to say about the New Hamburg Fire District receiving this grant from FEMA: This grant will save the taxpayers of the New Hamburg Fire District over $98,000, but more importantly, make the job safer for the firefighters who risk their lives every day for their community,”

The Chief also gives much credit to his Captain, Jason McIntosh, who actually set out to apply for the grant, after receiving approval from the Board of Fire Commissioners. This grant funding prevents the district from having to take out a loan to fund these radios, which would have come at the expense of the district’s taxpayer. According to Chief Renihan, Captain Mcintosh spent several weeks gathering all the relevant data and personally wrote the grant application, which was then submitted to FEMA. 

Once they received the necessary funding, Chief Renihan, Captain McIntosh, and firehouse staff met with and purchased these radios from a local radio provider, NYCOMCO. These specific radios have many features that are especially helpful in crisis situations. These portable radios of course meet the NFPA standards and these radios have advanced features that provide extra protection to firefighters, including in situations like MayDay calls or any evacuation orders for buildings.

According to Chief Renihan, these NFPA standard radios were developed in 2011 in order to protect all emergency personal in hazardous situations after two firefighters died while battling a structural fire. When an investigation was conducted afterward, it was found that microphone wires had melted which had prevented the firefighters from reporting their specific location and calling for help. Stories like that one further indicate the necessity for this grant funding to replace these 35 radios.