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The Hamburg Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded a $102,810 federal grant to upgrade its communications system.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., announced the grant from the Department of Homeland Security on Monday.

The department will use the grant to buy equipment that will enable firefighters to better communicate with each other and with other agencies.

"We were concerned because it is coming close to the end of the last round of funding," Fire Chief Timothy Moses said. "This will greatly benefit the community."

Firefighter Charles Nagel, who wrote the grant request with James Koester and Jeremy Manning, said the new equipment is designed to overcome one of the major problems of the 9/1 1 disaster: Emergency service providers couldn't talk to each other directly because different agencies use different radio frequencies.

Hamburg also has a search and rescue team that goes all over the area, and the new system will give the department the ability to communicate wherever it is dispatched to,Nagel said.

The grant is designed to cover 90 percent of the cost, with the department putting up the remaining 10 percent, he said.

The grant is under the Operations and Firefighter Safety Program, and other grants went to the Elba Volunteer Fire Department, $104,945; Frewsburg Fire Department, $78,278; and Cuba Fire Department, $40,500.


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