Fire departments receive big grants
Two Baldwin fire departments got early Christmas presents last week.
Baldwin City Fire Department and Palmyra Township Fire Department received more than $111,000 in grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help update and purchase new equipment and improve fire prevention and safety programs.
The Baldwin Fire Department received a $48,500 grant and the Palmyra Fire Department received a $63,500 grant.
Through the FEMA grant, the departments are responsible for only 10 percent of the total cost.
City Administrator Larry Paine said it's a rare opportunity for fire departments to improve their resources with a grant.
"There are very few and very limited amounts of money for fire service," he said. "This program is unique because it now provides a way for fire service to improve their ability to do their job. It's an opportunity to improve the quality of what these guys are able to work with in a limited cost situation."
Allen Craig, Baldwin fire chief, said his department plans to purchase a 20 portable radios, 20 sets of bunker gear and a thermal imaging camera, which will allow firefighters to detect people inside buildings.
"With this grant, I can buy everything in one year that I would have had to buy in five years," Craig said.
Randy DeMersseman, Palymra fire chief, agreed.
"This equipment is expensive," DeMersseman said. "We're advancing the department five to 10 years. It would have taken the department at least 10 years to purchase all this equipment."
The Palmyra department will also be purchasing new gear, radios and a thermal imaging camera as well as an accountability system to keep track of firefighters.
He said the department feels fortunate to get the grant.
"This FEMA grant is a very good thing because it helps departments make large purchases at once without taxing their patrons," he said.