The Burlington Free Press reports, “If any good can come from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, one candidate might be the influx into Vermont of fire and rescue equipment worth millions of dollars, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” The paper says the latest round of grants in 2004 brought roughly $19 million in equipment, 80 percent of that going to local police, fire and rescue agencies. Most of the gear shipped to Vermont will likely never be used in an incident remotely connected to terrorism. Instead, the radios, medical equipment, computers, cameras and a wide range of other goods will go toward responding to local accidents, small disasters and fires.
“We structure our grant requests to be able to use this stuff on a daily basis. By doing that, we are replacing equipment that we would have to use city funds to buy,” Burlington Fire Chief Michael O’Neil said. The Burlington Fire Department received $327,611 this year for a variety of items, including boots, radios and thermal imaging cameras. Most of the equipment coming into Vermont is for traffic control, communication and computer equipment to ease access to information. The Grand Isle Sheriff’s Department is receiving a pickup for $35,700. Montgomery Fire, Rescue and Ambulance is obtaining radiological and nuclear detection equipment, costing $800. The East Burke Fire Brigade will buy a $320 meteorological station. Members of Hartford Emergency Services will take a building collapse and technical rescue course.