South Derry fire department wins $84,000 FEMA grant

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Photo by the Champion Fire Co.

Champion Fire Company No. 5 Chief Jeff Duda announced Friday morning that the South Londonderry company has won an $84,096 Assistance to Firefighter Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Champion was one of seven FEMA grant winners in Vermont including Springfield with $250,069 and Wilmington with $19,643.

The grant will make it possible to buy 14 new self-contained breathing apparatus comprised of 14 masks and 28 air bottles for firefighters.

“The old packs are classified for 30 minutes (of breathing time) and the new ones for 45 minutes,” said Duda. “But you never get exactly that amount of time. It depends on how strenuous the work is.”

The company has 26 firefighters on its roster with 14 qualified for “interior” work, which requires breathing apparatus assistance. The grant will allow the company to increase from its current 12 to 14 airpacks.  According to Duda, the fire company is testing of two brands of air packs to see which one will best serve its needs. “I hope to have the new units in service this October,” said Duda.

“I have known for the last  six weeks that we may have received the award,” said Duda. “FEMA was asking questions and verifying some information. At 5 a.m. this morning the email was in my box.” Duda said the company received support from Vermont’s congressional delegation. Champion must pay approximately $4,200 as a match to receive the grant.

The Champion company was founded in 1871 and incorporated in 1903. It’s one of two private, volunteer fire companies in Londonderry.

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