by Lisa Tome
The Community Fire Company of Rising Sun has obtained grant money to replace equipment that is older than its chief.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded the company $42,000 through the Assistance to Firefighters grant program.
Rising Sun Fire Chief Matt Blakeley said that the award was officially announced last Friday.
The money will be used to replace rescue equipment that was purchased 33 years ago, three years before Blakeley was born.
The grant award is a real lifesaver.
The funds will be used to buy new extrication equipment commonly known as the "Jaws of Life".
Blakeley said the new Hurst tools will help the company keep up with new technology used in constructing vehicles. "The technology in vehicles is changing. Our older hydraulic tools cannot handle those. The new metals in the cars on the road today are more proficient," said Blakeley.
"The new technology makes people safer but it makes it harder for the fire company. Our older cutters won't get through that. Now we can update with all new standards."
The company will chip is $2,213 of its own money toward the purchase. Within a month, they will purchase a spreader, combination tool, two new pumps, hoses, and single connection couplings.
With the new equipment will come additional training. Fire company members will learn to use the new equipment during in-house training sessions.
The old equipment has gotten a work out. During the month of April, the Jaws of Life were used twice performing vehicle extrications following motor vehicle accidents. Last year, the equipment was used nine times. In 2012, it was used 14 times.
John Sly wrote the grant for the fire company. Blakeley explained that grant money is hard to get. "You really have to plead your case. They (FEMA) are not so giving if you don't really need it," he said.
He said the new equipment has given company members a renewed sense of enthusiasm.
“Without this grant, we would not be able to get it. Income is down, donations are down and we are looking for alternate (funding methods)," he said. "All the guys are excited. They're asking 'when's Christmas?'"
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