The Mattoon Fire Department recently received a $200,000 federal grant that will enable it to replace all 30 of the aging air tank sets for the department's firefighters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded this grant through the Assistant to Firefighters program, and the grant was matched by $10,000 in city funding.
Firefighter Dillon Kircher, who helped write the grant application, said the grant funding has arrived just in time as one third of the department's air bottles are scheduled to retire at the beginning of 2019 and another third of the bottles are set to expire at the beginning of 2020.
"I don't know how we would get the equipment replaced if we didn't have the grants," Kircher said of the high price of new air tank sets.
Capt. Rex Barnes said each new set of grant funded equipment will include two bottles, a harness, and a face mask. He said one of the new features of the equipment will be a warning signal on the air mask that indicates when 33 percent of the air supply is left, instead of the current signal at 25 percent.