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Local News

New Lenox fire buys new radios with $144K FEMA grant

Fire district uses $144K FEMA grant to replace aging portable radios, improve communication

Kevin Pena and Lt. Brian Applegate from the New Lenox Fire Protection District wear the new radios the district was recently able to buy with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Kevin Pena and Lt. Brian Applegate from the New Lenox Fire Protection District wear the new radios the district was recently able to buy with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The New Lenox Fire Protection District was able to buy new radios for its crews with a $144,208 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The district’s current portable radios are 10 to 12 years old, according to a news release from NLFPD.

“The FEMA grant process is a very competitive award program, and only a certain number of fire/EMS departments are chosen for awards,” according to the release.

The new Motorola dual band radios will ensure all NLFPD firefighters will be using the same type of radio. The new radios have larger buttons, which are easier for firefighters to use with a gloved hand and have the most up-to-date safety features. They also will increase the NLFPD’s ability to communicate with law enforcement agencies and other public safety agencies locally and nationally.

“We are very fortunate to receive this grant to help us obtain new, up-to-date portable radios, assisting us in being able to communicate with other area public safety agencies and ensuring firefighter safety,” Fire Chief Adam Riegel said. “Our older radios were not only nearing the end of their useful [lives] but also did not allow us the ability to communicate with the police departments in the areas we protect. The new radios will allow us to be able to communicate with those agencies during major emergencies to ensure the best possible outcome for the citizens we protect.”

The radios also will allow the NLFPD to adapt to an 800 mHz radio system in the future without added costs related to buying or infrastructure.

“Receiving such a substantial grant helps the district out financially, as it allows us to free up funds to use on other items that are critical for the function of the fire district,” Riegel said. “The timing of this grant could not be better for us as we continue to try to provide our firefighters with the best and safest equipment possible while still keeping our operational costs down.”

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