Media Archive

Guilford, Sebec awarded Homeland Security grants

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 166, No. 40, October 06, 2004

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

GUILFORD and SEBEC Volunteer fire departments in two Piscataquis County towns will receive more than $100,000 to bolster their firefighting capabilities.

The Department of Homeland Security has awarded a total of $100.170 in federal funding to the Guilford and Sebec volunteer fire departments. The awards are part of the "Assistance to Firelighters Grant Program", or the FIRE Act. The grants will assist in fire operations and firefighter safety training.

Gary Grant, fire captain with the Guilford Volunteer Fire Department, said the $69,480 going to his department, will be used to purchase a thermal imaging device, a new jaws of life, a holding tank for water and air bags to lift vehicles at accident scenes.

"We have a need for the items, but no money in the budget to get them," Grant said. "Guilford has a budget of $60,000 and half that goes to salaries. We have a hard time keeping it under that. The rest goes to insurance and truck repairs."

The department also is donating $6,000 to the Piscataquis County Sheriff's Office to assist in the purchase of a second base radio. Grant said. That equipment will allow two dispatchers to attend to two different emergency calls at any given time, he explained.

Grant said he plans to work with the Sebec fire department on bulk purchasing, in order to get the best deal for the money.

"Most definitely, we're going to be working together," agreed Sebec Fire Chief Chris Knowles. He said the department will use the $30,690 from the FIRE grant to purchase new turn-out gear and air packs, a new ventilation saw, a carbon monoxide detector and other items.

Knowles said the turn-out gear is due to be replaced and the air packs are between six and eight years old. He said they will trade in the older equipment to get more modern gear.

He said the departments already are negotiating with suppliers to get the best deal possible. "We're shopping right now," Knowles said. "We'll go with the best price."

The Sebec fire chief said this funding "puts our department ahead two years."

For the Guilford department, Grant wrote the grant application, along with firefighter Eric Young and assistance from Sheila Grant. In Sebec, Knowles wrote the application.

FIRE Act Grants were created with strong endorsement from Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. These grants are awarded to fire departments across the United States to increase the effectiveness of firefighting operations, firefighter health and safety programs, Emergency Medical Service programs, and Fire Prevention and Safety programs and to purchase new fire equipment. The Gardiner Fire Department also received $90,000 in this round of awards.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.