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Ambulance corps gets grant for gear

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Emergency responders from Wantagh, Levittown and surrounding communities will soon have better equipment to do their jobs, thanks to a grant secured by U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The Wantagh-Levittown Volunteer Ambulance Corps will be receiving $21,756 to purchase new personal protective equipment. The federal funds were allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
Michael Muccio, president of the Ambulance Corps, said the money will be used to purchase new turnout gear for the volunteer emergency medical technicians. This will include protective coats and pants. The agency currently only has a limited supply, he said, and the grant will allow it to meet federal standards. “It’s all for member safety,” he said, adding that the equipment would be worn by EMTs responding to car accidents, fires and other intense rescue situations. Responders would be protected from blood borne pathogens like Hepatitis B. The equipment would also offer protection from sharp metal edges, falling objects and harmful fluids. Muccio said that a typical set of turnout gears costs $500 to $800. The Ambulance Corps relies on donations, as well as small reimbursements from insurance companies. Patients are never billed. If it weren’t for the grant, Muccio said they would not be able to afford the equipment. The Wantagh-Levittown Ambulance Corps shares its boundaries with the Wantagh and Levittown fire districts. Its ambulances respond from its headquarters off Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown. Volunteers primarily come from Levittown and Wantagh, but there are also members from Seaford, Westbury, Hicksville and East Meadow. Muccio has been a member for 11 years and is in his second year as president. He said the Ambulance Corps responds to 950 to 1,000 rescue calls each year. “With this funding, Wantagh and Levittown’s first responders can focus on their important work knowing they have new, reliable and protective equipment,” Schumer said. “This investment will help ensure that our local heroes can continue their life-saving work as safely as possible.” Schumer was an original sponsor of the legislation that led to the creation of this funding program for local governments and fire departments to help defray the rising costs of equipment and fire prevention. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program funds can go towards training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, as well as modifications to fire stations and facilities. “We must ensure that our first responders who put themselves in harm’s way have the most up-to-date equipment they need to protect themselves as they help save lives,” Gillibrand said. “The Wantagh-Levittown Ambulance Corps will use this funding to invest in critical equipment that will help keep them safe as they do their job protecting our community.” The Ambulance Corps will host an open house this Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.