Local fire departments to receive over $284,000

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Washburn Volunteer Fire Department and the Purdy Fire Protection District will receive over $284,000 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFGP) this year.

"AFGP helps improve the equipment, training and effectiveness of rural firefighters across the country and here in southwest Missouri," said Congressman Roy Blunt. "These grants improve the safety of volunteers, enhance the protection they provide to our local communities and drive down insurance costs."

The Washburn Volunteer Fire Department plans to use its $236,000 grant to purchase a new pumper truck.

"We have been applying for five years for a new firefighting vehicle to replace our model 1960 truck," said Washburn Fire Chief Jeff Barber. "The new truck will make a huge difference in our fire district, one of the largest in the state, which includes parts of both Barry and McDonald counties."

According to Barber, the Washburn Fire Department maintains two pumper trucks and two brush trucks at the Washburn Fire Station. The new vehicle will replace the department's oldest pumper truck.

"This truck will be 41 years newer than the one we have," said Barber. "It will help us be better equipped and require less maintenance and fewer repairs that the older model. It will also have more pumping capacity."

Although this is the second AFGP grant that the Washburn Fire Department has received, it will be the organization's first vehicle grant, said Barber.

The Purdy Fire District will use its $48,369 grant to purchase water supply equipment and pay for firefighter training.

"The project for this grant was to upgrade our water supply capabilities," said Purdy Fire Chief Mike Redshaw. "Like a number of rural departments, we've been limited on where we get our water and how much we can get to our trucks.

"With this grant, we'll be able to dramatically increase our options in regards to what kinds of water sources we can use, such as hydrants, ponds and creeks, as well as how much water we can deliver to the fire," said Redshaw.

A large portion of Purdy's grant will be used the purchase over 3,000 feet of five-inch supply hose, which will allow the department to deliver over 1,000 gallons of water per minute over distances of more than 1,000 feet. The department's current supply hose delivers 500 gallons of water per minute over a few hundred feet.

Grant funds will also be used to purchase adapters, a new suction hose and strainers for the department's firefighting apparatus.

"The remainder of the equipment portion of this grant will be put toward the purchase of Turbo Draft educators for our pumping apparatus," said Redshaw. "This is a relatively new product that will allow us to take advantage of water sources that we normally wouldn't be able to reach.

"When drafting, we must be able to get our trucks within 10 to 20 feet from a non-pressurized water source," said Redshaw. "With this device, we can create a siphon and utilize water sources from 250 feet or farther away and still provide over 600 gallons (of water) per minute to the pumper."

The Purdy Fire Department will also use a portion of the grant funds to send five volunteers to Firefighter I and II training. These courses are used as the national standard for professional firefighters, said Redshaw.

"The courses teach firefighters about fire department operations, fire behavior, how to fight various kinds of fires and basic rescue techniques," Redshaw. "The typical class runs in excess of 240 hours of total classroom and hands-on training."

This will be the fourth grant that the Purdy Fire District has received through AFGP. Over the last four years, the organization has received over $455,000 in funding through the program. Previous grants were used to purchase a pumper truck, new bunker gear, self-contained breathing apparatus and a rapid attack truck.

"All of the equipment helps us achieve our goals of providing the best service possible to the citizens of the district," said Redshaw. "It also helps with our goal of lowering the district's ISO rating."

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