Dammeron Valley Fire & Rescue (DVFR) announced it has been awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the amount of $192,735. The grant will be used to purchase lifesaving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for DVFR’s firefighters, as well as much needed equipment that will benefit all agencies along the SR-18 corridor.
The AFG program was launched by FEMA in 2001 to provide firefighters and first responders critically needed resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. “This grant is another huge victory for DVFR as we continue our journey to modernize this department,” commented Fire Chief John Hennessey. “These resources provide the department with the ability to upgrade and replace critical equipment that is expired or doesn’t exist to protect our firefighters in the line-of-duty while further advancing DVFR’s mission to provide a timely, certified response in rural Washington County.”
The grant awarded to DVFR allows the department to acquire 14 sets of full turnouts, six Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) ensembles, a state-of-the-art washer/extractor and dryer system to properly clean firefighter turnouts after an incident, and a new Cascade Air System to fill SCBA cylinders.
Battalion Chief Ryan D’Ambrosio leads operations at DVFR and explained that agencies along the SR-18 corridor use DVFR’s current Cascade Air System to fill their SCBA bottles. “That system is more than three decades old and is often inoperable, requiring continuous maintenance and temporary fixes.” Chief Hennessey added, “The new system will eliminate the antiquated system that currently exists and save valuable dollars that we have been using in DVFR’s budget to keep the system running. We are looking forward to this change.”
“We cannot continue to pour money into old and tired apparatus and equipment, which is just poor business. Vision 2030 is our blueprint framework for modernizing DVFR and we will continue down this path until we have replaced all of it.” Chief Hennessy added, “Our firefighters expect us to ensure they have the gear and equipment to do their jobs to the best of their ability and this grant helps greatly to achieve Vision 2030.”
AFG is the latest significant grant DVFR has secured in the last two years. The department is currently mid-way through a FEMA Fire Protection & Safety grant that provides funding for fuels reduction in the community and is completing a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to deliver rural EMS training through DVFR’s Fire & EMS Training Center. The department hopes to secure an additional year of funding under that grant to continue offering EMT and Advanced EMT certification academies.