New Money For Benton Co. Firefighters - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Money For Benton Co. Firefighters

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Federal money comes to Benton County to keep fire fighters safer during structure fires. Representatives Doc Hastings met with local fire fighters Friday to make the grant official.

When fire fighters battle blazes like the one that recently destroyed a home in Finley they need to have on the right gear.  The crews at Benton County Fire District one haven't gotten new jackets or pants since the O. J. Simpson verdict in back in 1995.

When firefighters go out on a call they need a good engine, a good crew, and clothes that protect them from unbearable heat.

This year congress dished out $495 million so firefighters across the country can have the tools they need. Benton County Fire District #1 picked up $155,000.

Representative Doc Hastings met with crews Friday to make it official. He said this will help the district overcome lack of funding.

"And if you don't have as broad a tax base or the means to stay up to date with that, I think puts our residents at risk," said Rep. Doc Hastings, 4th District - Washington. 

The money will go to buy 87 sets of new boots, pants and jackets crews will use responding to structure fires. So from the bottom up when district one rolls out everyone's wearing gear that's up to code. That's not something they can say they've be able to do over the past 12 years.

"The technology and the standards have changed that rapidly in the type of clothing and protection that we're supposed to be able to provide our people to our volunteers and career fire fighters," said Chief Bob Gear, Benton County Fire District #1.   

The money marks the fourth grant awarded to the district in the last four years. Receiving over $800,000 in all.

Firefighters said they plan to make sure they get the best gear their money can buy.

Firefighters said the money comes just in time before the National Fire Protection Association issues another standard change for crews clothing.