FC fire department seeking grant

FALLS CITY — The Falls City Fire Department has applied for more than $125,000 in grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase firefighter turnouts and other equipment.   If awarded in full, the grant would allow the department to buy 22 full sets of turnouts, a thermal imaging camera, compressor filling stations for air packs, and computers and training for the camera equipment.   Falls City Fire Chief Bob Young said FEMA has the option of offering a lower amount depending on how much funding is available. However, given rapidly rising costs and the department's slim budget for equipment, funding for just the turnouts — the protective gear firefighters wear while battling blazes — would be welcomed.    Young estimated a full set that meets improved safety standards now costs about $2,500.   "It was just a few years ago that we were spending $1,200 to $1,500 each, but they have gone way up as different requirements have changed," he said.   Those changes have also rendered older turnouts obsolete, so the department no longer has backup sets.    Purchasing 22 sets would outfit the department's entire structural firefighting crew, as well as allow the department to keep used turnouts in good condition as backups.    "That would be a huge savings. For 22 sets that would be $50,000 to $60,000," Young said. "That's why this grant would be real nice if it does come through."   The grant application was completed in December — with volunteer assistance from Marc Reckmann, captain of the city of Cornelius Fire Department. Young said it will likely be a few months before the city will learn what — if anything — it will receive.    If awarded the entire amount, the city would have to provide a $6,284 match.


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