The Shreveport Fire Department has received one of the largest grants in the agency’s history, $424,500 for updated and expandable communications equipment and towards their Fitness & Wellness program. The department applied for the U.S. Fire Administrations Fire Act grant last year and was notified late last week of the award. From the grant the department will purchase: Motorola hand-held portable radios for each emergency response piece of equipment. This is significant for firefighter safety and department efficiency in that it allows all emergency response equipment to have two portable radios for communication at the scene of an emergency incident. Now companies that are split up into to two-person teams can remain in contact with one-another as well as the Incident Commander. Eighty units will be purchased at a cost of $224,000 ($2,800 each). Interface (built into air face-mask) radios. These radios are built in the firefighter’s face-piece that is used with their air pack in emergency situations, such as fires or hazardous material scenes. These radios will allow officers to work during an emergency with full protective gear, including the air pack and mask and maintain clear and easy communications with other crew members as well as the Incident Commander. The department will purchase 130 of the Interface radios at a cost of $130,000 ($1,000 each). The department was also provided $45,000 to host three Peer Fitness Trainer certifications courses. The courses are part of the American Council on Exercise’s program as part of the IAFF/IAFC Joint Wellness Initiative to evaluate and improve firefighter’s physical ability. The grant also covers an additional $22,500 for the necessary equipment to conduct the courses. “The awarding of this grant is significant and will be better enable the department to provide for, through advanced communication tools and healthier firefighters, a more efficient service to the citizens while increasing the level of firefighter health and safety on emergency scenes,” said Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. The awarding of the grant marks the third year in a row the department has received a U.S. Fire Administrations Fire Act grant. In 2005 they were awarded more than $40,000 for their Fire Prevention Mobile Training Unit and last year the department received $150,000 for the purchase of fitness equipment for the fire stations as part of their Fitness & Wellness initiative. The department is responsible to match 20-percent of the grants award or $84,900.