Fire departments in eastern P.E.I. are getting money from the province to replace aging equipment, and fire crews are hoping the new gear will help with response time.

Fire departments in Georgetown, Murray River and Vernon River will share a $42,000 investment from the P.E.I. government's Island Community Fund, which targets infrastructure requirements.

Georgetown Fire Chief Mark Gotell said his department's workload has grown as it responds to more and more medical calls over the years.

'It means a great deal for the men and women that volunteer their time and risk their lives at this job.' —Murray River Fire Chief Troy Ferguson

"It's a service that we can provide, and be there a lot quicker," he said.

From radios to firesuits, crews across the Island are extending the lifespan of equipment beyond what is recommended.

"Our last purchase of turnout gear was in 1994. So, I mean, we're almost doubling it. It's, you know, 19 years old," Gotell said.

He added that the money will go a long way for his department, which usually relies heavily on its own fundraising efforts.


Murray River Fire Chief Troy Ferguson holding one of four new ice rescue suits. (CBC)

Crews in eastern P.E.I. will be able to coordinate emergency responses together with new radio equipment, explained Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley.

"If we ever had to pay for that service, it would be astronomical, the costs," said MacKinley.

"We recognize how important the fire departments are to the province, especially rural Prince Edward Island."

Murray River Fire Chief Troy Ferguson said new ice rescue suits will allow his team to expand its capabilities.

"It means a great deal for anybody — the men and women — that volunteer their time and risk their lives at this job," he said.