FEMA money coming to Hartselle
Fire department gets $171,005 grant, funds will go towards equipment
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle citizens and firefighters will soon be safer thanks to a grant awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Hartselle Fire and Rescue recently received a $171,005 grant to be used for fire operations and firefighter safety through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
Chief Rickey Joe Smith said the grant couldn't have come at a better time.
"A lot of the equipment that will be purchased with this grant is equipment that the department has needed for many years now," Smith said. "Due to budget restraints, we've been unable to purchase it. We're very grateful to receive this money because it allows us to go into an emergency situation and provide mutual assistance with compatible equipment."
This was the third consecutive year the department has applied for the grant. Since the city is required to match grant funds by 10 percent, Hartselle has set aside approximately $19,000 each year in anticipation of receiving the grant.
"We didn't have our hopes up, but we didn't have anything to lose either," Smith said. "The mayor and council are very excited because they realize how much this will help the city. We're all grateful to FEMA for awarding the grant and to our local legislators and senators for fighting for it."
Local representatives are excited as well.
"I am pleased that Hartselle Fire and Rescue has been awarded this funding," Rep. Bud Cramer said. "Our firefighters put themselves on the front line everyday to protect our personal property and our lives. These first responders in Hartselle must have the necessary training and equipment to be prepared for times of crisis. This funding from FEMA will help our firefighters protect our loved ones and our property, as well as protect themselves."
"I applaud the Department of Homeland Security for following through on their commitment to ensure that our first responders have the necessary tools should they face a local emergency," Sen. Richard Shelby said.
Among items Hartselle Fire and Rescue has made plans to purchase with the grant are 20 updated air packs, spare air bottles, 4,500 feet of 5 inch fire hose and hookup equipment, rescue ventilation saws, ventilation fans, a jaws of life for Station 2, replacement generator, thermal imaging camera, fire hose tester, and a 56-ton air bag system.
Hartselle Fire and Rescue serves 12,019 residents in a 28 square mile area with 37 firefighters, 23 of which are volunteers and 14 professionals.