Fond du Lac Fire Department affected by government shutdown
FOND DU LAC - The stalemate in Washington continues to affect us at home. The Fond du Lac Fire Department is seeing a direct impact, with training canceled and grant applications delayed.
Two firefighters were meant to go to the National Fire Academy for training but they received notice this week it was canceled. And federal grants the department uses to buy essential equipment are delayed too.
"This is some of the turnout gear that we've receieved from our grant, as you can see we've also got the computers that we use for our mapping software," said assistant chief of training at the Fond du Lac Fire Department, Randy Cunzenheim.
The list goes on, all new fire hoses, a system to remove deadly carcinogens from the truck's diesel and an industrial washer to clean toxins out of their gear. All funded with federal dollars.
"They are not wants they are absolute needs that we need to have to do our job safely and effectively," said Cunzenheim.
In the last 12 years, the Fond Du Lac Fire Department received about $1 million from the federal government.
"We pursue these grants to alleviate some of the costs to our local community," said Cunzenheim.
An application for an emergency generator is now stalled because of the shutdown. And the department is shuffling schedules and cancelling flights for two firefighters after the shutdown cancelled the National Fire Academy training, this Sunday in Marlyand.
"We certainly are hopeful the deadlock in Washington ends soon so that we can get our people back in training," said Chief Peter O'Leary of the Fond du Lac Fire Department.
Firefighters are hoping the federal government reimburses the travel costs.
Those training sessions are normally planned far in advance, but if and when lawmakers end the shutdown, and the training is quickly rescheduled, the fire chief says that will create more problems for the department.