Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced on June 1 the awarding of $594,707 in federal funds to four fire departments in Virginia. The money was made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which supports local fire departments by providing funds for new equipment and training.
The DVFD will receive $100,381.
“We’re replacing 17 SCBAs, which are airpacks that allows us to go into a house fire,” said DVFD Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Grizzle. “All of ours is out of date 20 years-plus. That’s what the money is going to be used for.”
An SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) provides breathable air in otherwise unbreathable conditions. The units are fairly expensive, running approximately $6,200 apiece.
The units are used not only in house fires. The DVFD uses SCBAs when firefighters are called to a hazardous scene or whenever there is any type of fire other than fires on wild lands.
The department applied for the funding earlier this year. The DVFD has been trying for a couple of years to get one of the grants. Grizzle said it is tough to secure a grant like this because the department has to compete with fire departments all across the nation.
The DVFD is working on a grant to replace one of its trucks. Moreover, the agency is in need of new turnout gear for at least 10 people. The department has approximately 17 members.
Grizzle said the grant money was much needed.
“It was very important for the safety of our men,” he said. “We’re underfunded as it is, which most places are, and we didn’t have the money to replace the equipment. This was a big help.”