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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

Fire fighting efforts improved

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

MOREHOUSE -- The Morehouse Fire Department was awarded $67,478 in grant funding for operations and safety.

Fire departments and emergency medical services organizations in the state were awarded a total of $538,484 in U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grants.

Chris Beavers, volunteer secretary and firefighter for the Morehouse Fire Department, said this is the first successful AFG application the department has submitted since they were approved on their first try.

"We received one in 2003, and we've applied every year since then," he said.

The grant will pay for 95 percent of the equipment listed in the grant application with a 5-percent local match required.

"We applied for $87,000 and they knocked us down $18,900," Beavers said. "We applied for new turnout gear, new hoses, new nozzles, some tools we never had before."

Among the new tools the grant funding will be used for is a K-12 power saw.

"That is to help ventilate a house on the roof instead of the old axe swinging," Beavers said. "We also will get a portable monitor." The monitor will enable firefighters to direct water on the fire from a distance, he explained.

Beavers said the grant will also help them buy a new 4-inch supply line hose. The department is currently using 2.5-inch supply line. "This will allow us to get a greater flow of water," he said.

Four self-contained breathing apparatus units will be purchased as well as 12 sets of turnout gear for firefighters.

Twenty-two new pagers will also be purchased so every member of the fire department can have one and be ready to respond, Beavers said.

In addition, miscellaneous old equipment like ladders, axes and nozzles will be replaced.

Beavers said he carefully researched equipment prices when writing the grant application to get the most out of the grant funding. "I had to do a lot of looking," he said.

It will take some time to get most of the equipment in as he must go through the bid process for purchases. The department is slated to get the pagers next early next week, however.

Equipment purchased with this grant award will bring the Morehouse Fire Department up to National Fire Protection Administration standards on everything except their trucks, according to Beavers.

The department has two pumpers, one tanker and one brush truck. Beavers said he intends to write an application next year requesting funding to replace one of those vehicles in the next round of AFG grants.

AFG awards aim to enhance response capabilities and to enable fire departments and emergency medical services to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Nationally, this round of grants amounted to nearly $14.7 million. Distributed in phases, the fiscal year 2007 AFG awards will ultimately provide over $490 million nationally.

These grants also make it possible for recipients to receive training and conduct first responder health and safety programs in addition to buying equipment and response vehicles.

Since FY-2001, over $3.3 billion in AFG funding has been distributed to fire departments and first responder organizations to purchase response equipment, personal protective equipment, vehicles and to fund fire prevention activities, according to the press release.