Editors Note: This article was published originally in the Lincoln News by Tony Hallett.
HOWLAND – Firefighters had a lot to talk about Tuesday when the department received clear communication from the Maine Forestry Department that it was being awarded a grant to purchase new radios.
The department was awarded $800 through the Volunteer Fire Assistance grant to help purchase four Motorola paging radios.
“It’s a win-win for the town,” McNally said, stating that the new radios will save the town money in the long run. “Pagers cost $500. The radio has the pager in it.”
McNally, who applied for the grant in October, said he had budgeted $1,600 in hopes of receiving the matching grant. The remaining $800 can now be used to purchase other items for the department, such as batteries.
“We have been successful two years running now for radio equipment,” McNally said.
This is the third grant Howland firefighters have been awarded this year. In September, the department won a $30,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. Those monies were used to update its 24-year-old breathing apparatuses. Most recently, Poland Springs awarded six cases of bottled water to firefighters.
The next project for the department is to acquire forestry coats for every member.
“They are lightweight and made for fighting forest fires,” McNally said.
Currently, firefighters wear outfits created for fighting house fires. The material is much heavier and makes it difficult to navigate the rough terrain of the forest for extended periods of time.
It was good news all the way around last week for the department, as there were no major incidents requiring an emergency response by firefighters. On January 22, the department was called for mutual aid for a possible structure fire in Passadumkeag, but the report ended up being a false alarm.
To perfect the week, the department is still looking for two recliners to complete the bunkhouse/lounge addition to the station. With the upgrade of services to 24/7 ambulance coverage, a sleeping area and office has been added and is almost completely furnished. If anyone has an extra chair he or she would like to donate or sell; they are asked to contact either the town office or fire station.