Champaign Fire Department gets grant

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign Fire Department is receiving a $10,000 state grant to help maintain some emergency communications equipment.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency announced on Monday that the Champaign Fire Department is one of nine emergency response agencies across the state to receive money from the state's Sept. 11 Fund.

Champaign Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Steve Clarkson said the fire department will use its money to maintain radio and data communications equipment that the department keeps on a portable trailer.

He said the unit is called an Illinois Transportable Emergency Communications Suite.

"The trailer can be taken to sites affected by a disaster that have a crippled or eliminated communications system," Clarkson said on Monday evening. "It provides for or enhances communications between emergency responders."

Clarkson said the Champaign Fire Department takes its communications unit to emergency sites around the state.

For example, he said the trailer was used about two years ago as emergency personnel responded to flooding in the Marion area in southern Illinois.

"The trailer is used all over the state, but the equipment is based here in Champaign," Clarkson said.

Money for the grant is supported by a portion of the fee for each "America Remembers" license plate purchased or renewed in Illinois.

According to a written release, the Sept. 11 Fund is dedicated to providing grants to local governments for training, equipment and other costs associated with the prevention of terrorism and to aid victims of terrorism.

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