The Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending grants to a dozen Iowa local fire departments totaling nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. Cherokee’s volunteer fire department is getting 47-thousand dollars, and the only fulltime firefighter on the staff, Keith Willis, says they’re glad to see the grant.They’ll spend the money on SCBA’s, or self-contained breathing apparatus, a long-awaited update for the present system that will help the department. The system’s “airpacks” let firefighters safely enter a burning or smoke-filled building, or an enclosed space like a tanker that may have dangerous fumes. He says the current airpacks will be donated to surrounding towns in Cherokee County. Willis says there are seven other local fire departments that will be glad to get the older equipment handed on by the Cherokee firefighters. The “Assistance to Firefighters Grants” range from 73-hundred dollars for the Kellerton Fire Department to 244-thousand for Pacific Junction, a town of 500 south of Council Bluffs.
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