Media Archive

Milo, Guilford fire departments take mutual aid to a new level

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 48, November 27, 2002

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

Departments will explore joint purchasing on safety equipment to maximize $100,000 federal grant money

MILO & GUILFORD Two local fire departments are taking mutual aid to a whole new level.

The Milo and Guilford fire departments last week received word they are getting a $100,000 boost from the federal government to update safety equipment and buy much-needed gear. In order to get the most bang for the bucks, for the first time, the fire departments are going to consolidate their purchases to get bulk pricing.

It makes sense: both departments plan to buy new 4-inch fire hose, SCBA air packs, turn-out gear and miscellaneous safety equipment.

Guilford is receiving $53,334 from the Assistance for Firefighters Program, granted by the U.S. Fire Administration, and Milo was awarded $48,420.

"I've already gotten together with Milo's fire chief and we've decided we're going to get together and see if we can get more buying power," said Gary Grant, captain of the Guilford Fire Department. "It's still very preliminary, but if it works out so we can get a good deal, it's worth it."

Grant said the money will allow Guilford to buy SCBA air packs, 18 sets of turn-out gear (including helmets and boots) and replacement hose and nozzles without turning to local taxpayers. He said the new equipment will greatly increase the safety level for the 32 members of Guilford's volunteer squad when they go out and battle a blaze.

"It's a safety issue; that's the biggest thing that's bothering us," said Grant.

Milo also plans to purchase safety equipment -including SCBA air packs and a new Jaws of Life -with its share of the grant money, according to Milo Town Manager Jane Jones.

Jones is an advocate of consolidating purchasing to get the best deal, and has worked with neighboring Brownville to save taxpayers' money.

Milo and Guilford are among eight fire departments in the state - including Greenwood, Haynesville, Poland, Stetson, Veazie and Vienna - and 390 nationally to receive funding in this round of grant awards.

The USFA will make a total of 5,500 awards before the end of the year, under the legislation co-sponsored by Reps. Baldacci and Allen, according to a joint statement issued by the congressmen. Approximately $360 million will be distributed to fire departments throughout the country. Funding is used to support training, equipment purchases and fire prevention initiatives.

"We are pleased that fire departments in 60 Maine communities have been awarded grants through this important federal initiative," the legislators said. "These grants will help to protect firefighters and enhance public safety. These resources will play a role in saving lives and safeguarding property."

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.