The Community Fire Company of Rising Sun recently received federal funding to replace its vehicle rescue equipment, most notably the Jaws of Life tools.
The company’s current equipment has seen nearly 30 years of use. With the money from the Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant Program, the department can replace the old and outdated equipment with new, more efficient tools that will make responding to vehicle accidents much easier.
The $42,000 grant was secured by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).
The AFG program is a competitive grant run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Only a few fire departments can receive funding each year. Each application for a grant is reviewed by other fire departments and outside experts. Among other criteria, each applicant must show the cost-effectiveness and the benefits of the equipment or training that the grant-funding will be used for.
Back in the early 2000s, the Community Fire Company of Rising Sun received two large grants through AFG in back-to-back years. With those grants, it was able to buy and replace the majority of its older gear and equipment. Since then, however, it have not won a grant from AFG despite applying several times over the years.
“We’re going to keep applying for the grant. Next year we’ll probably apply to replace our large-diameter hoses we use on fires,” Chief Matt Blakely said.
This year, Rising Sun was one of only two fire departments in Maryland to receive funding in the second round of grants.
According to Blakely, the department uses the Jaws of Life approximately 10 times every year, which is why he feels it is important to replace the old tools with ones that are designed to work on the newer styles of cars that are becoming more and more common on the roads.
“We’ve never had an incident with the [old] tools,” said Blakely. “But we want to be prepared.”
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