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Federal Grant to Upgrade White Plains Fire Trucks

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- City hall voted Wednesday to replace fire engines' outdated data terminals after the department received a federal grant to finance a project previously slated for 2013.

A $102,917 grant will supply fire trucks with mobile data terminals that allow firefighters to study blue prints, floor plans and other property information en route to emergencies. The city will shell out $25,729 to match the Federal Emergency Management Grant.

Fire Chief Richard Lyman said the eight-year-old data technology currently in fire trucks has limited information about sites, such as where the nearest fire hydrant is located, and is riddled with communication problems.

"We have to carry paper-based records with us. With the new technology, the communication device that will be purchased with it will be much quicker and more reliable," said Lyman. "It'll provide information to firefighters to help protect them and, in turn, help keep the community safe."

Lyman eventually plans to synch the new terminals with software from the building department to give crews access to fire inspections as well.

Mayor Thomas Roach said the federal grant will save taxpayers much of the $128,646 in bonds the city previously planned to use on the terminals.

"These are very helpful to firefighters," said Roach. "And we'll have it a year earlier, so it's good news all around."

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) helped secure the grant, according to Public Safety Commissioner David Chong.

"We have them in our current fire apparatus, but they are first-generation. Actually, their shelf life has expired. They work very sporadically," said Chong. "So this federal grant will enable our firefighters to respond efficiently, know about the dangers that they face, and help us to be able to serve the public much better."

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