Clanton Fire Department to apply for FEMA grant

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, November 15, 2016

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

CLANTON — The Clanton Fire Department is applying for a Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters grant to replace outdated equipment.

If received, the grant would replace 18 outdated self-contained breathing apparatus. This equipment allows the firefighters to breath oxygen freely from an air pack when responding to a fire.

The grant would be for about $94,000 and requires the City of Clanton to pay five percent of the total. Fire Chief David Driver said the percentage is based on population. Each breathing apparatus cost about $5,250.

“There is an extensive application process,” Driver said. “We send the application in, it gets reviewed by peers, which means other fire chiefs will review it.”

There are three different elimination rounds before recipients are chosen. Driver said the decision is based on need.

“Some we are replacing are 16 years old, so they aren’t up to standards,” Driver said.

Driver said the air packs are tested annually and are still safe for use.

“If they didn’t pass the test, we would take them out of service,” Driver said. “There is really no risk just because they are getting older of a malfunction with it.”

However, improvements to the equipment in more recent years include more safety features than what the department is using.

Driver said the fire department has applied for grants in the past, and has received a few.

The Clanton City Council unanimously approved applying for a grant during its meeting Monday.

Also during the meeting, the Council approved moving forward with a project to replace a pipe at the intersection of 15th Street and 4th Avenue.

Mayor Billy Joe Driver said water is running under 15th Street and 4th Avenue and causing issues. Driver said when the pipe was put in there was a manhole cover that was lowered, rather than being removed.

“Now the metal pipe has rusted out and the water is running in and getting in there,” Billy Joe Driver said.

He said improvements cannot be made until the manhole cover is removed.

Tri-County is already doing a sewer rehab project on the street, and could complete this project for $47,000. Mayor Driver said the city would be buying the pipe for the project separately.

Councilman Sammy Wilson commented he thought other infrastructure, such as electric and telephone lines, which would have to be moved added to the cost of the project.

“I think that is where a lot of our surface water is coming from,” Wilson said.

He said the project would also solve these issues by directing water to the storm drain.