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Boston Mayor Thomas Menino proclaimed Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 “Leary Firefighters Foundation Day” to mark the foundation’s gift of a high-speed fire rescue boat to the Boston Fire Department. The 27 ft. Vigilant, a modified-Boston Whaler, at the time was one-third the size and three times faster than Boston’s 30 year-old fire boat. Equipped with four searchlights, 450 horsepower, GPS, radar and a pump capable of delivering 780 gallons of water per minute, the Vigilant was unsinkable. With its low profile and shallow draft, it could easily maneuver through and around the many piers, docks and channels in the Boston Fire Department with ease, giving the first response teams the ability to operate faster and more safely than ever before.

“This important gift from The Leary Foundation will have a huge impact on the ability of the Boston Fire Department to protect Boston’s Harbor and the citizens of the city safely and swiftly,” said Boston Fire Commissioner Kevin MacCurtain.

“At the heart of all our work is the desire to give firefighters a better chance of returning home to their families at the end of the day, and to ensure that they have what they need to protect us,” said Denis Leary. “In this day and age, with our first responders facing the front lines of the war on terror, the challenges and the need to be prepared are greater and more critical than ever. On behalf of all of us at the Foundation, we are honored to do whatever can to help them.”

The day’s festivities included a press conference and demonstration at the Hyatt Harborside at Logan Airport, as well as a special pre-game ceremony at the Boston Red Sox game that evening.

The Leary Firefighters Foundation purchased a Tactical Command Unit (TCU) for the Boston Fire Department. The TCU was presented to Fire Commissioner Paul Christian on August 11, 2004, at a special ceremony outside City Hall. Built into a retrofitted Ford Excursion SUV, the TCU is equipped with advanced radio communications equipment, thermal imaging video monitors, and a down-linking receiver which will provide unprecedented access to video feeds from state police or news helicopters on the scene at an emergency.

The vehicle can easily navigate the narrow streets of Boston, providing firefighters with a greater ability to monitor and control audio and video communications at any incident. Increased mobility will improve response time and the additional communications support will give the incident commander a more accurate picture of the task at hand, leading to better informed decisions and enhanced firefighter safety.