Grant means new fire gear

Published 8:37 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Clanton Fire Department will soon receive $118,920 worth of equipment thanks to an Operations and Safety Grant administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The equipment includes a new air compressor and fill station, an emergency generator, and a hazardous materials trailer and gear.

The air compressor and fill station will replace equipment that is more than 25 years old, Fire Chief David Driver said. He said it had become difficult to find replacement parts for the outdated equipment.

A generator will allow Station 1 to remain fully operational during a power outage.

“This is going to give us something for Station 1 so that if the power goes out, we will be able to run the entire station,” Driver said.

In the instance of a major accident or train derailment, the hazardous materials (or HAZMAT) trailer and chemical resistance suits would allow firefighters to perform their jobs better and potentially save lives.

The HAZMAT equipment alone would cost $48,000, Driver said.

“We have applied many times for grants, but this is the first time that we have been awarded one,” he said. “This is wonderful for the city of Clanton, the fire department, and our firemen. I would like to thank Congressman Bachus and everyone else that helped us get this grant.”

The total amount of the grant is $113,031. The city of Clanton will match 5 percent of that amount.

Driver hopes to obtain the equipment by this spring.

The department will have to go through the bid process as required by law.

“Firefighters are on the front lines every day, protecting lives and saving property. They deserve modern equipment and the best in safety gear. This grant program helps ensure that fire companies have the necessary resources to quickly and effectively respond to emergency calls. The Clanton Fire Department is to be commended for qualifying for this grant,” Congressman Spencer Bachus said.

Funds awarded under the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) program are used to meet the firefighting and emergency needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated medical services organizations.

Only the applications most closely conforming to program priorities are considered and scored by peer review panels.