Power of pen leads to grant

The Coalton Volunteer Fire Department will add new emergency rescue equipment, thanks to a grant written by a firefigher.

For a fire department that answers more than 140 emergencies a year, most of which are automobile accidents, the proper equipment is vital. Members of the Coalton VFD has been using rescue equipment that is more than 16 years old. Alloys now used in vehicles have proved problematic for the old equipment, which has been less effective and sometimes useless against newer vehicles.

Coalton firefighter Sarah Roy Phillips found a solution to this problem. She sharpened her writing skills, completed research and successfully submitted a grant to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. The department received a grant for $50,967 which will be used to purchase new extrication equipment.

“We had explored other options to replacing our aging, worn and outdated rescue equipment, even considering the purchase of used equipment from other departments,” Phillips said. “The major drawback is the fact that the equipment does not meet current National Fire Protection Association or Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.”

Phillips also points out that the new equipment will be dependable for many years.

“It will also be more readily able to cope with modern vehicular materials and ensure that the firefighters are using the safest, most modern equipment available. Also, the purchase will ensure that the department’s ISO rating will remain unchanged, if not lowered, resulting in the community having lower homeowner’s insurance premiums.”

She also pointed out the new equipment can supply well-equipped first responders needed in an emergency at critical infrastructures.

“This equipment will be available on 100 percent of our calls, and will benefit mutual aid fire departments,” Phillips said. “It will allow our department to improve services to our community and reduce the health and safety threats to our residents and firefighters.”