Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., announced Wednesday that $1 million in federal funds will equip all Kanawha County fire departments with mobile and portable radios under the new Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Kent Carper, Kanawha County Commission president, said, “Sen. Byrd’s action will save lives in Kanawha County. We thank him. While some may call this an earmark, I call it a life-saving act.”
Byrd said, “Having the most up-to-date equipment for our first responders is critical in helping to keep our local communities safe.
“Increasingly, emergency personnel are called upon to respond not only to fires and medical emergencies, but also to hazardous materials accidents, natural disasters and to prepare for the potential for an attack on our homeland.”
Carper said he recalls “discussions about how bad the communications system was in New York on 9/11 for the fire department. That system was far superior to the one we currently have.”
Improvements to the county’s radio communication systems will be completed within 12 to 16 months.
“This could be the difference between life and death for a firefighter,” Carper said. “We will buy and maintain the new radios locally.”
Byrd was also instrumental in securing funds for other local projects in the new Appropriations Bill:
* $1.9 million to the Charleston-Kanawha Housing Authority for new low-income housing at the Littlepage Terrace and Washington Manor public housing facilities in downtown Charleston.
* $712,500 for the Hope Community Development Corp. to buy run- down properties on Charleston’s West Side, then construct new homes, providing local employment and making homes available to low- and moderate-income families.
* $4.75 million to repair a major rock slide on U.S. 60 near Hugheston.
* $1.9 million for the Kanawha Trestle-Rail-Trail project to redevelop the abandoned CSX railroad trestle over the Kanawha River and convert six miles of railroad lines into walking and bicycle trails between South Charleston’s Mound and the state Capitol Complex.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at email@example.com or 304-348-5164.
Originally published by Staff writer.
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