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    Reading fire department gets new protective gear

    Reading firefighters will have some new equipment to help protect them as a result of a recent federal grant.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided $159,364 to purchase needed protective gear. With the money, which comes through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the department recently purchased self-contained breathing air packs for use in smoky or hazardous environments; 52 half-hour compressed air cylinders, a device to help locate lost or trapped firefighters; 12 breathing face pieces; and two packs to use in helping firefighters to breathe when they are trapped in hazardous situations.

    Also with the funding, the department plans to purchase hazardous gas monitors that can test for carbon monoxide, explosive gases, sewer gas, and low oxygen environments.


    The new gear replaces other equipment that has been in use for more than 13 years. Town Meeting this month will be able to take money previously approved for the equipment and use it instead for needed school building repairs.

    John Laidler can be reached at