Federal grant to finance new fire truck

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The McCook Fire Department will use a $452,116 competitive matching grant to purchase a new aerial truck.

Sen. Ben Nelson announced the matching grant, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration on Wednesday.

McCook Fire Chief Marc Harpham said the department would use the Vehicle Acquisition grant to replace a 1977 ladder truck.

The new truck, Harpham said, will be safer to operate, use less manpower, and meet all the required standards.

"We really appreciate the support we've received from Sen. Nelson's office," he said.

Other fire departments in the area to receive funds for Operation and Safety are the Grant Volunteer Fire Department, in the amount of $35,014; the Arapahoe Fire and Rescue Department, $24,596; and the Eustis Volunteer Fire Department, $66,206.

A total of 34 Nebraska communities will share $2.6 million in fire safety grants from FEMA.

Only some $650 million in grants were awarded out of about $5.5 billion in requests from nearly 21,000 departments, Harpham said.

McCook will use proceeds from the 1977 trade-in toward the required 5 percent match, plus another $10,000 in the city budget if needed.

Harpham expects specifications to go out in October, an order possible in November with delivery next year.

It is possible, he said, that McCook's specifications could be met by a manufacturer's demonstration unit, which would speed delivery.

McCook has been successful in its bidding process three of the last four years, he said.

The latest grant is the largest of its type to yet be awarded in Nebraska, Harpham said.

Designed to strengthen and enhance basic fire fighting capabilities and other emergency services across the United States, the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program will give awards through four program areas. These areas include Fire Operations and Firefighter Safety Program, the Fire Prevention Program, the Emergency Medical Services Program, and the Firefighting Vehicles Acquisition Program.

The Fire Operations and Firefighting Safety Program provides funding for additional training and modifications to fire stations and facilities. This grant also provides revenue for new firefighting equipment.

The Fire Prevention Program will promote public education, funding for the purchase and installation of smoke alarms and fire suppression systems.

"These grants will assist these 34 rural fire departments in Nebraska in conducting education programs and fire prevention, enhancing emergency me-dical services programs, and purchasing new fire fighting equipment," Nelson said.

Additional information about the grants may be found at www.usfa.fema. gov.

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