The apparatus was made possible after Fire Captain Caprice Mellon requested a grant last spring for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The agency responded to Mellon's petition, granting $183,375 in federal funds -- the second largest grant statewide, second only to Apex's $315,000.
The Assistance to Firefighters Program established the FEMA grant to help stations statewide purchase protective equipment.
FEMA will issue $100 million by Sept. 30 in two-year grants to fire departments across the nation.
The Chapel Hill Fire Department opted to use the newly allocated money to purchase new breathing apparatuses and replace equipment that is more than 10 years old.
Price, who presented the fire department with a large check, said last week's terrorist attacks have increased awareness of the significant role firefighters play in the community.
"We think it's important to recognize the Chapel Hill Fire Department for the work they're doing," Price said.
During the presentation of the grant, Price spoke about the importance of using equipment that protects the lives of firefighters and enables them to work more efficiently.
The new apparatus enables two firefighters to share a single air unit, a technique called buddy breathing.