Isabella Fire Department receives grant

Published 2:30 pm Friday, August 21, 2015

Congressman Gary Palmer announced on Friday that the Isabella Fire and Rescue Department received a grant for $39,048 awarded by the Department of Homeland Security.

The Assistance to Firefighters—Operations and Safety grant will allow the department to purchase a self-contained breathing apparatus fill station.

Isabella Fire Chief Brent Conway said firefighters are required to use the breathing apparatus when they approach a structure fire or vehicle fire to prevent breathing in the heat and smoke, which could cause harm to firefighters.

Previously, Conway said firefighters at the department would utilize the self-contained breathing apparatus machines at other fire departments, and the grant would allow the fire department to not be dependent on neighboring fire departments for this need.

In addition, having the fill process in-house will further enhance the skills of the firefighters.

“I know this grant will be used to strengthen the overall level of preparedness of the Isabella Fire and Rescue Department and enhance its ability to respond to fire and related hazards,” Palmer said in a release. “I am proud to support all of our first responders, particularly those in the 6th Congressional District.”

Conway said the department applied for the grant earlier this year, and all of the grants are reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.

“We are selected out of all of the departments in the country,” Conway said. “It is really neat that out of so many fire departments we are selected. Without these grants there is no way we could afford to have a lot of the stuff we have at the fire department.”

In 2012, Conway said the fire department received a $250,000 grant for a fire truck.

“These grants are a tremendous help to us,” Conway said.

Funds awarded under the Assistance for Firefighters Grant program are used to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations. Only the applications most closely conforming to program priorities are considered and scored by peer review panels.

The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.