Grant given to protect the lives of those who protect ours

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Fire Department will receive close to $65,000 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The money received from the grant will be used for purchasing new self-contained breathing apparatuses. Each air pack with a cylinder and face piece costs over $5,500 but they’re worth every penny.

“The air packs are probably the most essential piece of equipment that we have as far as firefighter safety goes,” said Relief Engineer Matt Jackson, “not just going into fires and structure fires, but onto hazardous material scenes and car fires. So they help protect the firefighter with the toxic materials that are off gas during fires.”

Since the air packs are such a vital tool, it is crucial to keep them up to date. The older aluminum pack in yellow is much heavier than the new carbon cylinder. When considering how much weight a firefighter carries on their bodies in equipment, every pound they can eliminate allows them with a better chance to do their job. This grant provides an opportunity to improve the entire fleet of air packs all at once.

“Normally for budgetary purposes we try to order two air packs per year over a nine year cycle and then a respite year for year ten,” said Marquette Fire Chief Tom Belt, “what this does is it brings our whole inventory up to the latest model with one fell swoop.”

The City of Marquette will be adding over three thousand dollars from tax revenue as well. The 12 new air packs will help protect the lives of those who protect ours.