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Grand Forks, Drayton fire departments to receive homeland security funding

The Grand Forks Fire Department will receive $189,000 and the Drayton, N.D., Volunteer Fire Department $184,372 in Homeland Security funds appropriated by Congress, members of the North Dakota congressional delegation announced today.

Sens. Kent Conrad and John Hoeven and Rep. Rick Berg also announced that the Edgeley (N.D.) Volunteer Fire Department will receive $175,608 in Homeland Security funds.

The money is to be used for operations and safety, including training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and health and safety modifications to stations and facilities, according to the delegation's statement.

"Each and every day, firefighters and rescue personnel across North Dakota put their lives on the line to protect families and keep communities safe," the lawmakers said. "In return for their tireless efforts, the delegation is working to ensure they have the resources and equipment necessary to do their jobs. These grants will help ensure North Dakota's first responders are prepared for emergencies when the call comes in."

Mike Flermoen, deputy fire chief in Grand Forks, said the department hadn't been notified yet about the award, but he said it was good news.

"That will allow us to replace our self-contained breathing apparatus, our air packs," he said. "All the air packs we have were bought in 2000 and don't meet current safety standards" for responding to incidents that might involve hazardous materials.