NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford firefighters will be all kitted out and ready for water rescues, after the city's fire department received a state grant of nearly $50,000 for new water rescue suits and other equipment.

New Bedford Fire Chief Scott Kruger announced the grant on Wednesday.

He said that the funds will go towards structural firefighting gear, 10 new ice and water rescue suits, buoyant water rescue rope, and portable radio equipment upgrades.

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The rescue suits and floating rope will not only be carried on fire department boats, but also on its engines, to ensure that crews can respond to ice or water rescues in any city area.

Massachusetts' government awarded the department $49,995 through its competitive Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant program.

“The New Bedford Fire Department is pleased to have received the maximum grant award allowed for a city the size of New Bedford,” Chief Kruger said, noting that the funds will allow crews "to provide high-quality responses to water marine emergencies, whether they occur on the open water, in the harbor, or in one of the ponds located throughout the city."

"These funds additionally will allow upgrades to portable radios that our teams rely on every day,” he added.

New Bedford's fire department responds to an average of six water rescue emergencies per year, including a recent rescue in October when a man experienced a medical emergency on a vessel at a storm-damaged dock in Popes Island Marina.

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