CROSS LAKE TOWNSHIP, Maine — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded the North Lakes Fire Department a more than $52,000 grant to buy three thermal imaging cameras as well as replace several fire hoses.
The fire department, which services the four unorganized territories of Sinclair, Cross Lake, Square Lake and Madawaska Lake, and Westmanland through contract, applied for the Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant this spring.
The department responded to 38 calls in 2017 and already has responded to 39 calls this year.
The FEMA firefighter grants help departments obtain equipment they might not be able to buy otherwise. The only stipulation for the grant awarded earlier this month, is for the department to pay 5 percent, roughly $2,500 of the cost to purchase the equipment.
Fire Chief Darren Woods said that he and County Administrator Ryan D. Pelletier already set aside the matching funds in the budget.
“Our department [applies] for those grants every year, though not always for the same thing,” Woods said Monday.
This year, the grant is going toward the cost of three new thermal imaging cameras that will help make rescues faster, he said.
“They are used for rapid search and rescue since you can use them to get an image and see through the smoke,” Woods said.
The cameras also will be used when the firefighters need to make sure all of a fire is out, and for detecting hazardous materials.
“We have a thermal camera in Cross Lake that is 16 years old,” Woods said. “This upgrade will allow us to put one camera at each station so we can have a quicker response.”
Other items the department plans to update with the grant include several new hoses so they will all fit the national standard of hookups to the fire trucks which will “make it much safer and reliable” for firefighters, according to Woods.
“It will also help us to improve our water supply techniques and replace some of the older hoses that are well over 20 years old,” he said.
In addition, the grant allow the department to buy a larger diameter hose. The department doesn’t currently have large diameter hoses, but this one will allow the transfer of water between trucks more quickly when needed.