The Lanoka Harbor Fire Department was awarded $280,250 in federal funding to replace two aging fire engines with an upgraded vehicle.
“To keep New Jersey families safe, our first responders need the best equipment available,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which funds the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Lanoka Harbor’s fire truck fleet is aging and in serious need of improvement, and this federal grant will make important upgrades to enhance the fire company’s ability to keep local families safe and secure,” he said.
The fire company applied for the grant to replace two engines, one that has been in use since 1978 and another since 1989, with a pumper rescue, Chief Jack Amrozewicz said.
The 1978 truck is non-compliant because it has an open cab area for the firefighters, Amrozewicz said. Today’s trucks are all enclosed.
The 1989 box rescue truck has structural problems causing rising maintenance costs and will no longer be safe down the road, he added.
The pumper rescue would hold more than 300 gallons of water, which would significantly improve the department’s ability to fight fires, a press release from Lautenberg’s office said.
Receiving the new truck along with the funding will be quite a long process, Amrozewicz said.
“We have to spec out a truck,” he said. The company will have to determine what’s required and what they want in the truck before going out to bid.
The federal funds won’t be provided to the company in one lump sum, he said. The company, which has one year from the award date to complete the purchase, will request the money as needed.
The township will be responsible for $150,000, which was agreed to in September but with the new truck, the company will be able to reduce its fleet and maintenance costs, Amrozewicz said.
In September, the fire company said it would be looking at pumper rescues that cost approximately $425,000.
“That was one of the items we were hoping to come through,” Mayor Mark Dykoff said.
Although money is tight, “that is one piece of equipment that’s pretty necessary,” he said. “All emergency services do a fantastic job. We want to give them all the tools they need.”
Dykoff along with the committee encourages emergency services to continue to apply for grants and work with the township to determine what’s feasible, he said.
Sen. Robert Menendez was also pleased that Lanoka Harbor was awarded the AFG grant for an upgraded vehicle, he said.
“New Jersey firefighters answer the calls to protect our families and our communities and it’s our responsibility to make sure they have all the resources they need to carry out their jobs safely and effectively,” he said.