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Fire Chief touts 'binoculars on steroids' - Gazette - 01/11/2008


Around Goshen: Fire chief touts 'binoculars on steroids'

Used by permission.  Copyright GazetteNET.com


GOSHEN - Fire Chief Sue Labrie told Selectmen Monday that about $46,000 more in grants and gifts has come in to the Fire Department in the last few weeks.

"We've been very busy and there's a lot happening," she said.

Two federal grants - one to help pay for the completion of an exhaust-removal system and the other for some "binoculars on steroids" in Labrie's words - and a direct financial donation from a seasonal resident of Hammond Pond - have left the department better stocked with emergency and safety equipment.

The two new federal grants, both from the Department of Homeland Security, are as follows:

- $25,460, a grant called "Assistance to Firefighters," will allow the Fire Department to finish the partially installed diesel exhaust-removal system that now exists in one bay of the station.

- Approximately $15,000 worth of vision equipment was awarded through Homeland Security's Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program. The military issue day/night binoculars and night vision eyepieces will allow emergency responders to see hazards and search for missing persons in the daytime or at night, said Labrie.

And, Labrie noted, an anonymous donor who is a seasonal resident of Hammond Acres wrote a $5,000 check to purchase a portable rescue boat and cold-water rescue equipment.

She said the donor had been thinking about doing so for years, and asked about the department's needs. Labrie proposed to the donor that a rapid deployment craft, two cold-water rescue suits, a lifeline for rescuers and a tether line for the boat "would be awesome."

The craft fits in a 2-foot by 2-foot suitcase and inflates in minutes.

Labrie said the suits and ropes have already been received and tested by members of the department. The boat is due to arrive this week.

During the summer, the Fire Department also received a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant - which requires a town contribution - to buy a new fire truck. Labrie said the department's new truck committee has awarded the $444,000 bid to Zwack Inc., of New York.

The federal share of Goshen's truck grant amounts to $308,750, and the town is required to match about 5 percent, or $16,250.

The remainder of the cost is to be drawn from an existing $200,000 fire vehicle fund, said Labrie.

Selectmen congratulated Labrie for her successful grant-writing efforts, only half-joking that Labrie could perhaps think about becoming a grant writer for the whole town.

(Friday, January 11, 2008)