Pa. fire companies get FEMA aid

Posted: June 07, 2014

Area fire companies will have some extra money to spend on equipment and additional firefighters, thanks to federal largesse.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently announced that it was awarding more than $1.8 million in grants under two programs to fire companies in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.

A big winner was the Tinicum Township Fire Company in Delaware County. With its $549,600 share, it added eight full-time firefighters - who started last week - to bolster its volunteer force.

Also receiving money under the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants program was the Longwood Fire Company in Chester County.

"It is an extremely, extremely competitive grant," said A.J. McCarthy, the Longwood fire chief, whose company is sharing its $198,000 with the neighboring Avondale Fire Company to recruit and train volunteers. The award is a first for Longwood, which serves Kennett, East Marlborough, Pennsbury, and Pocopson Townships.

Both Tinicum and Longwood also received money under FEMA's Assistance to Firefighters Grant program for the purchase of equipment, training, and related expenses. For Longwood, the amount was $83,500, and for Tinicum, $52,000.

"The old equipment ... we can't get parts for it," said Jonathan Buschmeier, Tinicum's fire chief.

Longwood plans to purchase a vehicle exhaust-removal system for its firehouse. "Every time they start up [the trucks] we are sitting in diesel fumes," said McCarthy.

Other companies that received the personnel grants were Phoenix Hose, Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, Phoenixville, Chester County, $177,000; Upper Gwynedd Township Fire Department, $176,800, and Montgomery Township Department of Fire Services, Montgomeryville, both in Montgomery County, $138,000; and Westwood Fire Company No. 1, Coatesville, Chester County, $37,880.

Companies that received the equipment grants were the Fire Department of Montgomery Township, Montgomeryville, $240,000; America Hose, Hook and Ladder Company No. 2, Bristol, Bucks County, $137,000; Darby Fire Patrol No. 2, Darby Borough, $83,600, and Milmont Fire Company, Folsom, $77,000, both in Delaware County; Thorndale Fire Company, Thorndale, Chester County, $47,000, to be used for fitness programs; Upper Salford Volunteer Fire Company, Salfordville, Montgomery County, $46,700; Eddington Fire Company, Bensalem, Bucks County, $29,900; and Union Fire Association, Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, $24,000.

610-313-8111 @MariSchaefer

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