After nearly a year of waiting, Loudon Fire Department was awarded a $70,000 grant to install new safety equipment at the station.
The grant comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security. LFD Chief Mike Brubaker applied in late 2019 for “firefighter safety and operations,” he said.
LFD will use the grant to install a vehicle exhaust removal system in the bay area.
“Basically what that entails, it’s a system that’s installed in our fire station in our fire bays that as soon as the fire truck pulls up to the station, this device hooks up to the vehicle’s exhaust. The entire time the vehicle is inside of a fire station running, the exhaust is hooked up, and the harmful toxins are taken out of the building,” Brubaker said. “That’s huge for our firefighters because they’re not being exposed to the harmful known carcinogens that could be coming from the vehicle exhaust.”
After receiving notification of the award in early August, LFD is jumping other required hurdles.
“There are certain processes you have to complete in order to get federal funding,” Brubaker said. “We’re going through that process now of making sure there’s an environmental study. We have to have done since this is an alteration to a fire station. When we’ve got that completed, there’s a couple just basic questionnaires you have to complete and fill out, and once all that is completed, then we can submit a request for funds to be deposited from the federal government into our city account to actually purchase the equipment. At that point in time, we’ll have to go through a bidding process where we’ll probably go out and accept three quotes to make sure we’re getting the best price we can for the materials we’re getting.”
Brubaker credits city leaders for help in the process.
“You know, that’s a pretty heavy price tag, $70,000,” he said. “That’s something that we possibly could’ve got budgeted, but our budget city-wide is always cut kind of tight, and every department has needs so getting the funding through FEMA has been a huge resource for us, and that all also falls back to our manager, Ty Ross, and our mayor, Jeff Harris, and our city council for allowing us to seek the funding and approve and accept this funding.”
Ross said the credit should go to Brubaker and the firefighters who sought the grant.
“We supported them 100% in terms of paperwork and any potential matching dollars required by the city, but it was just a great effort on their part, and we always appreciate Mike and his willingness to go above and beyond,” Ross said. “He’s the type guy who takes things upon himself, and that’s the type you want.”
The project will cost the city $3,333.33.
Brubaker said his “lofty goal” is to have the system installed and operational by the end of the year.