Grant a win for fire, EMS paging

 A project to upgrade the regional public safety paging system used by Chester County’s volunteer fire departments and emergency medical services personnel will receive a $554,157 federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant, Rep. Jim Gerlach announced today.

 The grant administered by the Department of Homeland Security was awarded to East Brandywine Fire Company, which worked cooperatively with Chester County Fire Services on the grant proposal. Chester County has agreed to pay $138,539 toward replacement of the regional public safety paging system to comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s narrowband mandate. The project will help ensure reliable coverage and capacity among regional, local, state and federal first responders, a news release from Gerlach said.

“Every volunteer in Chester County, as well as the taxpayers, will benefit in some way from this grant, “said East Brandywine Fire Company Chief Joseph Edwards in the release. “East Brandywine Fire Company was very pleased to be asked to sponsor this grant and looks forward to the new paging system being implemented.”

 Raymond Stackhouse, president of the Chester County Fire Chiefs Association added: “On behalf of the Chester County Fire Chiefs Association, I would like to thank East Brandywine Fire Company for sponsoring this grant application; and the Chester County Commissioners and the Department of Emergency Services staff, for all of their assistance and support throughout this process ... These funds will be a tremendous help in offsetting the costs of a much-needed improvement to the current communications process for all emergency responders in the county.”

Chester County’s fire and emergency medical services are provided by 38 fire departments and 2 non-affiliated EMS organizations serving 73 municipalities.  The 2,056 firefighters and EMS personnel, most of whom are volunteers, protect the county’s 498,894 citizens, the release said.

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