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The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has awarded Okanogan County Fire District 6 with an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to purchase two new "Jaws of Life" extraction tools. District 6 uses these tools on approximately one out of every five emergency responses to motor vehicle accidents.
The new extraction tools will replace outdated equipment at the Winthrop and Twisp stations. The equipment being replaced cannot cut new high-strength, low-alloy steel and microalloy steel that is used in newer vehicles. Additionally, having Jaws of Life from the same manufacturer will simplify training for all District 6 volunteer firefighters.
The grant application was submitted last year by District 6's volunteer firefighters and the AFG was just awarded on February 8. Every year District 6's volunteer firefighters apply for grants available. Granted funds can represent as much as 20% of the fire district's annual budget and are an important part of making local fire levy dollars stretch farther.
In the past nine years, District 6 has received over $700,000 in state and federal grants to help the district purchase equipment, apparatus and supplies that are critical for public safety. A majority of the funds have come through the Federal Emergency Management Agency - six AFGs received since 2003 - and a smaller amount from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources
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