Mottville Fire Company earns grant

Everyone in the small fire house garage could feel the pride. After three years, two failed attempts and hundreds of phone calls and e-mails, the Mottville Fire Company was awarded a $89,875 grant toward the purchase of new airpacks and masks.

On May 21, members of the fire company turned out in full dress uniform to thank those responsible for the accomplishment. As it turned out, it was the attitude of the entire department that was just as responsible as the ceaseless efforts of the grant writers and helpful associates.

Geoffrey Pitman, deputy fire chief, described in detail how from 2009 to 2011 the first attempts at getting a grant for new equipment was an effort met with a "ton of financial questions" that had to be answered and about "a thousand e-mails" to be addressed.

"For the years we were turned down, but we never gave up," said Pitman. "The folks at this fire company as well as the grant writers were dedicated to seeing this through."

With the new airpacks lined up against the firefighting apparatus in the background, New York State congressional representatives Senator John DeFrancisco and Assemblyman Bill Barclay addressed the audience and gave testimony to the "stick-to-it" attitude the fire company team is now known for.

"Things are getting tougher these days," said DeFrancisco. "It's not easy getting grant money but this is a good fire company and even though it took a awhile they did it."

Congresswoman Anne Marie Burkle also sent representatives to congratulate the members as well.

"These airpacks and masks are latest state-of-the-art devices," said Katie Foehl, the newest female firefighter in the Mottville Fire Company. 'The old units had a gauge indicator you wore on your shoulder which you had to constantly stop and look at to see how much air you had left. The old ones were over 15 years old and had been refurbished beyond their useful life. These new airpacks have a 'heads-up' display that lets the firefighter know everything from how much air is left under current conditions, LED indicators with varying degrees of brightness-a further indicator of time against oxygen levels and even a vibrator warning if a user loses track of time while fighting a fire. The airpacks fit lower in the back to increase mobility in a tight situation."

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