NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — FEMA has issued a grant to a local fire and rescue department in Eastern North Carolina.

New Bern Fire and Rescue were awarded a $300,000 grant to help them assist citizens better. The money was used to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus units. The old units failed to meet the National Fire Prevention Association standards.

The new breathing tools will help firefighters breathe without exposure to harmful chemicals that are found in smoke.

“Cancer is quickly becoming a higher death rate for the fire industry because of all the chemicals, that thing,” said Robert Boyd, the fire chief for the City of New Bern. “So it’s a really great tool for us to help on the safety side of things.”

The department now has 46 air packs ready for use when they respond to service calls.