Monette Fire Dept. receives FEMA grant

Thursday, January 16, 2003

The Monette Fire Department has been awarded a $65,772 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for protection equipment and training.

Where life and safety are considered, personal protective equipment is of the utmost importance on the fire scene. It is the objective of the Monette Fire and Rescue Department to replace the turnout, structural fire fighting gear with updated equipment, and to add Haz-Mat protective equipment in order to provide a safer and more efficient ground environment for the department and for the citizens that they serve.

Personal protective equipment will include 23 helmets, 23 coats and pants, 23 pairs of boots, 23 pairs of gloves, 23 hoods, 23 PASS Devices, 23 flashlights, eight encapsulated suits, and 48 Tyveck suits, for a total of $54,580.

The fire department also plans to add a ventilation fan, a computer and a thermal-imaging device, which is listed at $18,500. The ventilation fan will be larger than the one the fire department now has and will produce enough positive pressure to meet their needs. The computer will help the department with response reports sent via e-mail, and allow their records to be readily accessible at the station. The imaging devise will allow firefighters to find the source of the fire quickly, helping them to save lives and diminish property damage.

Total expenses for the equipment will total $73,080, with the applicants paying 10 percent and the FEMA grant paying 90 percent.

"The Fire Department presently receives about $12,000 per year from Act 833 turn back funding," Monette Mayor David Fletcher said. "The town of Monette budgets up to $10,000 per year for the fire department, also. The remainder of their operating monies comes from donations received from citizens in their 91 square mile jurisdiction. These funds provide for maintenance and upkeep of the facility and equipment. This simply cannot generate the funds required to purchase the equipment, that is so desperately needed."

"Nothing is more critical to firefighting than protection," said Fire Chief Bob Blankenship. "Firefighters are exposed to harmful elements in the course of their assigned firefighting activities."

"By securing these funds through this grant, we can guarantee that our firefighters are equipped with protective equipment that meets current NFPA and OSHA standards 100 percent of the time," David Clark said. "By living in a rural community and the amount of chemicals we are exposed to, we know we are at risk. The nearest haz-mat team is 45 minutes away. After the events of Sept. 11, time is something we no longer take for granted."

"We have applied for this grant before and are so very pleased to have finally been awarded it," Mayor Fletcher said. "The grant to Monette was the largest distribution of funds to be awarded this year. We have also applied for another $120,000 grant to build a safe room here in Monette."

"We were awarded the grant in the 11th round of selections, on Dec. 23, 2002," Kevin Wimberely said. "This was a great Christmas present for all of us."

The Monette Fire Department Grant Writing Committee consisted of Mayor Fletcher, Fire Chief Blankenship, David Clark, Steve Haigwood, Kevin Wimberely, and typist Cathy Haigwood.

"Our committee worked over four hours on the form, and Cathy spent another four hours fine tuning it," Haigwood said. "We are very pleased with how it turned out, and all the hard work paid off this time."

"The volunteers in our fire department put in a lot of hours to provide protection to the community and town," Fire Department Chaplain Robert Chambers said. "I don't know what we would do without the willing servants who take on this responsibility. They need all the equipment and protection they can get on the job. This grant came at a good time."

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