This page highlights how an AFG grant awarded to the Washington Department was used to purchae mobile fire units. This page is intended for fire departments and nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Service organizations (EMS).
AFG Grant Provides Mobile Fire Unit to Washington Department
The population in Clallam County, WA has grown by 10.7% in the past few years, placing significantly increased demands on public services like fire and emergency response. Despite the population increase and an addition of almost 500 service jobs, their unemployment rate has actually increased to 12.6 percent. This is because more unemployed people have returned to seek employment and claiming jobless benefits after their benefits had previously expired. The majority of funds from their annual income go to critical functions of the district such as fuel, fire suppression and EMS service delivery including volunteer stipends. Clallam County Fire District No. 2, or Clallam 2, is unique in that they have little or no capacity to overcome the depth of their funding dilemma. This is why their successful 2012 AFG Grant for $375,465 for a mobile fire training unit was so rewarding.
“We were motivated because we run our firefighters through Firefighter I and Firefighter II Training and we have absolutely no training facility at all within 13 miles of our department,” said Sam Phillips, Fire Chief. Phillips stated that without the Fire Flash II Mobile Fire Training Unit from FIREBLAST Global, the department would have had to send all their employees several hours away for training.
“We knew we could do it better, faster and cheaper with federal assistance.”
The mobile fire unit offers multiple firefighting scenarios and includes three separate props – a hallway rollover, a simulated kitchen fire prop and a simulated living room fire prop. The unit also offers an integrated smoke generator and can be set up with fire sprinklers. It also includes walls that can breached to simulate rescuing a trapped firefighter.
“We had a structure fire earlier this year in April and the fire was limited to a single room and its contents,” said Phillips. “That success was a direct result of the training our firefighters went through.”
In order to create a more successful county, Clallam 2 invited their two neighboring fire districts to join them in the instructor training of the mobile fire training unit. Those agencies were the City of Port Angeles Fire Department and Clallam County Fire District No. 3. Phillips reports that there have been no fire-related deaths or severe injuries in the county since completing the training.
“By allowing our automatic aid and mutual partners to train with us, we are all more effective in training firefighters which equates to a more safe and effective fire-ground for the citizens we serve and the firefighters.”
Along with the request for the mobile fire unit, several things listed as options on their original application were able to be purchased and Clallam 2 was still able to come in under budget. Those options included a washer/extractor machine for turnout gear to limit exposure to carcinogenic and a portable fire extractor pan for outdoor training. Phillips said they wouldn’t have had the opportunity for any of it without federal funding from AFG.
“We’re thrilled with the AFG program,” said Phillips. “They have helped us. We’re a small organization. We have a small tax base. Without the AFG, we wouldn’t be able to provide the fire level protection our community needs.”