Canterbury Fire Department upgrading truck, radio equipment

By JAMIE L. COSTA

Monitor staff

Published: 10-01-2023 12:00 PM

For any fire department, reliable communication and transportation can make the difference between a problem solved and a tragedy.

In Canterbury, fire officials are working to upgrade one of their trucks along with the department’s radio equipment which is more than 20 years old and has started to fail.

Though the faulty radio equipment has not caused any incidents, it poses a safety risk, said Chief Michael Gamache. Now, help is on the way. The department recently received a $76,000 grant to replace the department’s radio equipment, which will be done over the course of the next year.

With upgrades to mobile and stationary radios as well as the emergency operations center and base antenna, the department will have more reliable communication when responding to calls and coordinating with other departments in the area, Gamache explained.

“The ability to effectively communicate on an emergency scene is paramount to the safety of our responders as well as the effectiveness of the operation as we work to save lives and property,” he said in a news release.

As part of another project, the town approved $850,000 for the department during Town Meeting in March to replace a 1996 fire truck that is in a state of disrepair, he continued. Earlier this summer, the department signed a contract with a manufacturer that estimates the truck will be finished near the end of 2025.

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“It’s well past its useful life and it’s disturbing that it’ll take that long,” Gamache said. “We’re still dependent on it but we’re at the point where minor things need to be repaired that aren’t repairable. We’re crossing our fingers that nothing major happens.”

The department first recognized the need to replace radio equipment three years ago but applied for federal funding last year through a competitive grant application process made available by the United States Department of Homeland Security through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

“Less than 10% of departments nationwide get them [grants] and we got turned down last year,” Gamache said. “They try to fund the most needy departments based on age of equipment and other factors and this year, we fit into that, and we’re appreciative of that.”

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