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FEMA Funding Awarded for Wayne County First Responders Communications Equipment

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) Wednesday announced federal funding has been awarded to upgrade communications equipment for fire departments in Kenova and Ceredo.

"This lesson from two of our sister cities can well serve other communities that the art of communication is enhanced not only with cutting edge equipment, but by working together and joining forces," said Rahall. "Firefighters perform heroic acts every day, but there are those, in our nation's Capitol, who are too shortsighted to understand the long-term importance of these essential federal investments and threaten the security and livelihoods of our communities. I have long been a fierce advocate for federal funding to support public safety on the local level. While tightening our budgetary belt, we must stand united in support of national priorities like our first responders."

Kenova and Ceredo Volunteer Fire Departments will receive $265,648 Assistance to Firefighter Grant to replace outdated legacy radio units with interoperable-capable communications equipment for the two safety forces, enabling compatibility with the West Virginia Interoperable Radio Project (IRP), which is a collaborative effort by state, county, and municipal public safety entities to establish and maintain a state-wide radio network. According to Fire Chiefs Tim Bias of Kenova and David Caudill of Ceredo, the new equipment will strengthen their operations and ability to service the Tri-State region, with improved firefighter safety and better coordinated response capabilities on scene.

"As a department we have been working under outdated and dangerous conditions with the old radios," said Chief Tim Bias, Kenova Volunteer Fire Department. "We are grateful for this funding and the support given to us by Congressman Rahall. We know that our Wayne County departments, and all entities involved -- EMS, fire, and police -- will benefit from the better communication."

"This funding gives us the ability to fill a huge gap in emergency communications in our area with equipment that will greatly benefit the squads in the field and our medical command," said Ceredo Fire Chief Dave Caudill. "We will really enhance our ability to speak with agencies across counties and statewide to coordinate our response, and add an ability to communicate with hospitals, too."

The grant is included in Round 12 of the competitive FY 2011 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. The funding can be used to obtain much-needed emergency response equipment, personal protective equipment, firefighting and emergency vehicles, and training.

The AFG program awards grants directly to local fire departments and Emergency Medical Service organizations to enhance their ability to protect the health and safety of the public, as well as that of first-responder personnel. Since 2002, southern West Virginia has received $21 million through the FEMA FIRE grants programs.



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