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$224,000 for area firefighters

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By Robin Bass

Two area fire departments have received grants totaling $224,200 to purchase new equipment as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.

The Mt. Eden Fire Department will receive $156,750 to purchase a new tanker and the Spencer County Fire Protection District will receive $67,450 to purchase new hose, a commercial washer and cascade system.

“I appreciate all these individuals contributing to our community,” said Congressman Brett Guthrie during his announcement of the grant recipients Thursday. “This funding will help ensure our men and women in uniform can safely and quickly respond to the emergency needs of the county.”

Chief Doug Herndon, of the Mt. Eden Fire Department, could not be more pleased to receive federal money to help the fire protection district protect residents.

His plans are to replace a 1982 tanker at the Southville Station with a newer, 1,800-gallon tanker that will pump 750 gallons of water per minute.

“This equipment will allow us to service areas that are not covered by fire hydrants,” said Herndon.

Mt. Eden will be required to provide a five percent local match of $8,250 toward the purchase, said Herndon.

Chief Nathan Nation, of the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department, said he feels fortunate each time his department is awarded grant funds.

“We’ve been so lucky. We have gotten so many the past several years that every time we get another one, it’s like wow,” said Nation.

He attributed the success of the grant application this time around to stressing a need to take care of the equipment purchased with a similar grant two years ago. During the 2007 fiscal year application process, Nation made an appeal for new turn out gear and SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus).

With the current grant, Nation intends to purchase a commercial washer that can clean smoky fire gear and a new compressor filling station for the air cylinders. He also will add 4,000 feet of  new, five-inch hose to their equipment list.

The competitively awarded grant aims to strengthen the overall level of preparedness for the fire department and its ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards. In fiscal year 2009, the Department of Homeland Security will award approximately $565 million directly to fire departments and EMS organizations.