The alarms will help firefighters find down comrades in poor visibility conditions.
EAST LIVERPOOL -- City firefighters will have an improved chance of rescue in an emergency with personal safety alarms to be purchased with Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.
The department has been awarded a $63,450 grant through FEMA's firefighters assistance program.
With the grant and a required $7,050 local match, the department will be able to purchase about 20 personal safety alarms.
Assistant Chief Gary Cornell said the alarms attach to a firefighter's self-contained breathing apparatus. He said the alarms activate as soon as the air packs are turned on, and sound if a firefighter is immobile for a period of time, usually about 25 to 30 seconds.
A firefighter could become incapacitated, trapped under debris during a structure fire, for example, Cornell said. In such a case the firefighter's alarm would sound and help others locate him in conditions where visibility is often poor because of smoke and darkness.
Application: Cornell said the department chose to apply for a grant to purchase the alarms now because fire departments will probably be required by law to have the devices within three to four years.
The department has 24 firefighters with eight on duty at any given time, so the personal alarms provided by the grant will be more than sufficient for all the firefighters on duty to have one, Cornell said.
Proposal: Assistant Chief William Jones wrote the grant proposal and has also applied to FEMA for other grants, Cornell said.
He said the department previously received a $6,000 FEMA grant to purchase fire hoses, nozzles and other fire hose accessories.
U.S. Rep James A. Traficant Jr. of Poland, D-17th, voted in favor of authorization for FEMA's firefighters' program last year and remains committed to providing federal funding for emergency services in the Mahoning and Ohio valleys, said Charles Straub, a Traficant spokesman.