Bridgeport Fire Department gets $1 million federal grant for training, cancer tests

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State and local leaders announced Saturday that $1 million in federal funding has been allocated to the Bridgeport Fire Department.

Officials say the grant is to be used in a variety of ways, including specialized training in rope rescue, building collapse, as well as trench and confined space extrication. They say the money will provide training for 65 firefighters.

The federal fund will also be used for cancer screening for firefighters.

Bridgeport firefighters say they were thrilled to find out that the new federal dollars will not only help them save lives of the people they protect, but it could also help save the lives of men and women in the fire service.

Firefighters face often face danger from hazards like fires and live wires -- but also from long-term exposure to airborne chemicals that can cause cancer.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal announced Saturday that he and Rep. Jim Himes have secured the grant for the Bridgeport Fire Department so all its firefighters can be screened for cancer at regular intervals.

"Screening for cancer when firefighters go into burning buildings is absolutely essential," Blumenthal says. "In those buildings, there are often carcinogens and toxins and poisons that can imperil their lives.”

State and local leaders say money is unusually tight in recent times and it's only right that first responders get funding at a time when most departments are facing a shortfall.

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