HEFLIN — Three Cleburne County public service agencies have received grants from the 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program — a program which supports first responders.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, which administers the grant, the grants are awarded to fire departments, nonaffiliated EMS organizations and state fire training academies that are unaffiliated with a hospital. The grants are matching grants, meaning the receiving agency will need to supply a little money on its own, in this case 5 percent.
— Cleburne County EMS received a grant for $163,810 to purchase a new vehicle. The Director of Cleburne EMS, Tracy Lambert, said the EMS will buy a four-wheel-drive box truck, a vehicle which could reach patients that a typical ambulance can’t get to if a road or long driveway is in poor condition.
Currently the EMS has four ambulances, two of which are fully staffed according to Lambert.
The box-truck will have automatic snow chains and a winch.
“If we were to get stuck or something with a patient we have the ability to pull out,” Lambert said.
Lambert hopes the new ambulance will give patients a better chance of survival while transporting them, adding that it’s “wonderful” to get this kind of equipment at no cost to the local taxpayers.
“Everybody is just on cloud nine. It was awesome because the entire staff at Cleburne EMS, as well as me, we’re here to try to take care of the residents of this county, and this just gives us something more to take care of the county with,” Lambert said.
— Micaville Volunteer Fire Department received a grant of $251,429 to purchase a new vehicle.
When contacted by phone Tuesday night, Micaville’s fire chief, Joe Bill Conkle, was unaware that the department had received the grant.
“Oh, Lord, that’s a good shot in the arm,” Conkle said.
Conkle said that the department has applied for the grant for the last two years.
“I guess it finally made it through,” Conkle said.
“We will use it though — that’s a wonderful bunch of news there, brother,” Conkle said.
— Heflin Fire Department received a grant of $67,905 to help fund operations and safety equipment.