Fire Department To Purchase 19 New Air Packs

Will Use Town Funds After FEMA Grant Denied

The Smithfield Fire Department has learned they did not receive a $419,953 grant they applied for last year to replace aging air packs and an air compressor.

Fire Chief John Blanton received approval from the Smithfield Town Council in January 2018 to apply for a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to replace air packs that were more than 14 years old, plus purchase a new air compressor to refill the air packs.

The grant would have covered 95 percent of the cost.

Blanton said at the time if the department did not receive the grant, the equipment would have to be purchased in the very near future because they will no longer meet safety compliance regulations.

As a fallback just in case the grant was not approved, the town council budgeted $160,000 in the 2018-19 fiscal year budget last July to purchase 19 air packs.  After learning the FEMA grant was not approved, the department will move forward with the purchase the new air packs, using town funds, in the next 30 to 45 days.

(2017 File Photo By John Payne)