Four neighboring fire departments receive federal grants totaling $610,000

Flossmoor, Calumet City, Crete, and South Holland

information provided by the Office of Robin Kelly

WASHINGTON, DC (September 6, 2019) – Congresswoman Robin Kelly announced earlier this week that four south suburban fire departments will receive a total of $610,000 in federal grants to update safety equipment and fire station exhaust systems.

The Flossmoor Fire Department was awarded $222,345 in federal grants to purchase updated emergency breathing equipment that will make firefighters safer when entering burning buildings. The federal investment will purchase state-of-the-art air packs that will replace the department’s nearly two-decades-old breathing equipment, considered obsolete by federal requirements.

“I’d like to thank Congresswoman Kelly for supporting and helping Flossmoor successfully obtain an Assistance to Firefighters Grant,” said Fire Chief Christopher Sewell. “Especially given current research on firefighter occupational disease—devastating cancers, cardiac and lung disease—due to exposure to carcinogens and toxic gases when firefighting, these air packs are vital in protecting the health and safety of firefighters. Having new air packs will give our firefighters the tools they need to help save the lives of others by employing new thermal imaging technologies, the ability to share breathing air with one another should a firefighter begin to run out of air, and a host of other technology advancement that improve firefighter safety.”

The Calumet City Fire Department will use its $142,000 grant to update the ventilation systems at its two fire stations to remove toxic vehicle exhaust and ensure the health and well-being of their personnel. The monies will also purchase protective gear, including 15 sets of firefighter turnout gear and 25 helmets.

“I’m happy the funding was available to increase the health and safety of the Calumet City firefighters,” said Deputy Chief Peter Bendinelli.

The Crete Township Fire Protection District will use its $52,380 award to install new vehicle exhaust systems at its fire stations, according to Fire Chief Jeffery Panega. He said, “We are doing this for the health of firefighters.”

South Holland will purchase new air packs with its $193,409 award. “Our thanks to Congresswoman Kelly for helping us receive this grant,” said Fire Chief Brian Kolosh. “It will help us tremendously.”

The purpose of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program is to strengthen the nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards. During Fiscal Year 2018, AFG made $315 million directly available to fire department, state fire training academies and non-affiliated EMS organizations to obtain much-needed emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, emergency vehicles, and training.

“Our firefighters readily put their lives on the line protecting our families and communities,” Rep. Kelly said. “They need and deserve the most modern technology available to save the lives of others and increase their safety.”

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