The Washington Community Fire Protection District was notified it received the “FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant” totaling nearly $330,000.

The money will be used to replace 48 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), two firefighter rescue packs and 98 air cylinders.

The new SCBAs will replace the aging breathing equipment currently used for handling hazardous material incidents, interior firefighting challenges and other emergencies needed to protect firefighters while in a hazardous environment.

The grant will offset costs to purchase the equipment that replaces 15-year-old SCBAs purchased in 2005. The current equipment has reached the end of its lifespan and must be removed from service by December.

The upgraded units will be lighter and allow the firefighter to remain safely in the hazardous environment for longer periods of time with less fatigue during the incident.

With the types of hazards found in many homes today and the chemicals encountered in an assortment of alarms, it’s extremely important to provide the firefighters with the very best protection possible, a fire department officer said.

The order for the units has been issued and delivery will hopefully be within the next six weeks. Once they arrive, each firefighter will be trained with the new SCBAs.

After it’s determined that firefighters completely understand the operation of the new SCBA units, they will be placed in service.