Lopez fire department gets $36,000

San Juan Fire District 4 on Lopez Island will soon have $36,000 in its hands to revamp its communications system.

The grant was awarded under the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program for Fire Operations and Firefighter Safety. The funds were authorized as part of the Fiscal Year 2002 Defense Authorization Bill, for which Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, voted in favor.

"The importance of fire safety and the protection of our firefighters cannot be underestimated," Larsen said. "This funding is a necessary resource that will be used to assist our firefighters in responding to calls more rapidly."

Specifically, the funds will be used for major radio restructuring, from firehouses and portables to trucks and the pagers that firefighters carry.

"We are a remote, rural area and this grant is essential to maintaining our communications system," County Commissioner Rhea Miller of Lopez Island said.

Larsen added, "I am proud of our firefighters and the hard work that they do to protect San Juan residents. I commend the department for the extra effort involved in securing this grant."

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