This page highlights how new equipment was bought with a grant awarded to three Connecticut companies. This page is intended for fire departments and nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Service organizations (EMS).
Regional AFG Grant Provides Needed Equipment to Three Connecticut Companies
Because of the recent economic downturn of their region, three volunteer fire departments in Connecticut collaboratively applied for and successfully received a 2012 AFG Regional Grant. The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department, the Candlewood Company and the Water Witch Hose Company cover the towns of Brookfield and New Milford, CT. With the $660,765 grant award, these organizations were able to purchase 89 SCBA units and 178 bottles split amongst their departments. With excess funds, they were also able to buy extra meters, thermal imaging cameras and washing machines.
“The biggest thing was the cost,” said Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department Secretary Sara Ellis. “Receiving the grant for these items relived the tax payers of that burden. It helps everyone sleep better at night.”
The grant was issued in May 2013 and the equipment was received in May 2014. Because the manufacturer updated the standard while the grant was being processed, the departments had to wait for the new product to be released before purchasing. The previous equipment, although functional, was meeting the end of its life expectancy as it was over 30 years old. Ellis stated that there was a real threat that the equipment would not last or save lives, and the grant funds were able to pay for new, updated SCBAs.
“During any emergency, our guys are wearing them,” said Ellis, who also stated that the equipment is being used several times a week. “The most important thing out there is our people. We need to do anything possible to keep them safe.”
Keeping them safe also happens because of the items purchased with excess grant funds. Those items included five thermal imaging cameras and truck chargers, 17 4 gas meters, nine Carbon Monoxide Meters (including two testing systems and one calibration system), and three new washers. The Candlewood Company and the Water Witch Hose Company each received a second washer, while the third one went to the Brookfield Department. Ellis stated that adding additional washers allows each company to clean gear quickly after a mutual aid incident.
The departments had previously been unsuccessful in receiving individual funding for their outdated SCBA. Ellis acknowledged that once they came together, however, the numbers got higher and the grant request became larger and more prominent. But then again, Ellis is no stranger to receiving grant funds. Since 2003, she has secured five AFG Grants for her department totaling over $1.2 million.
“They call me the million dollar lady,” she says laughing. But Ellis is quick to state that it’s because funding is readily available. ““The grants are a great opportunity for everyone. The funding is out there and available to everyone.”