The village is considering hiring a professional grant writing firm to help secure federal funding to purchase more than a dozen new air packs for the Newland-Wood Fire Company No. 59.
The department is in need of replacement fire packs for units that are about to expire and soon will no longer be able to be used. Fire Chief Jeff Mahar says the packs are regulated by the guidelines of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and last about 10 years.
“This self-breathing apparatus is our lifeline for going into burning or toxic areas,” explained Mahar, “anywhere you can’t breathe fresh air. We use them for all activities from car fires to structure fires to carbon monoxide calls.”
Federal grants to purchase the fire packs, which depending on the person, can last 30-45 minutes at a time, are available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Most packs now come with a “buddy” breathing connection, Mahar said, so if one firefighter runs out of air he can hook up to another firefighter’s pack to get out of a building safely. The tanks are expensive costing between $4,000 and $6,000 each.
Village Trustee Ellen Vomacka, the board’s liaison with the department, got permission from the board this month to meet with Grantgenies, a downstate firm from Goshen that specializes in grants for not-for-profit fire departments, rescue squads and emergency service agencies.
The village would have to pay Grantgenies $1,450 up front to write the grant but would be reimbursed that fee through federal sources if and when the grant is awarded, Vomacka said.
According to the company’s website, the Grantgenies team has secured more than $7 million in appropriations over the past 10 years, and has been in business for nearly 30 years.
“That’s a very good success rate,” Vomacka said. “I’d really like to see this happen (for the department).”
The last group of Newland-Wood fire packs were funded through a $113,000 grant awarded to the department several years ago, and the village would like to go the same funding route again.
Chief Mahar said he and Vomacka would set up a meeting with Grantgenies representatives to further discuss the village’s options.