July 3, 2008

MDC Grant Helping Firemen Purchase New Equipment

The Missouri Department of Conservation will help fund yet another project for the Scotland County Fire Department. Chris Sevits of MDC presented Scotland County Fire Chief Stacy Westhoff with a check for $3,000 last week as part of the MDC matching grant program.

The Volunteer Fire Assistance Program is a matching grant program for rural fire departments. Rural departments serving populations smaller than 10,000 people can purchase fire-fighting equipment and receive reimbursement for up to one-half of the purchase price. Each year, the Conservation Department issues more than $300,000 in matching grants to rural fire departments.

This year 182 fire departments will be receiving checks of up to $3,000 to help purchase personal protective gear or other fire fighting equipment for use in battling wildfires and other blazes. In all more than $376,000 was funded by the United States Forest Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Over the past 26 years the program has given $5.1 million to rural fire departments to help increase the safety of firemen and provide better equipment to battle the blazes.

The Scotland County Fire department will use the funding as part of the estimated $18,395 expenditure for a custom-built water pump and storage skid to be installed on the new mini-pumper truck being purchased by the Scotland County and Memphis fire departments.

We went the custom route to allow us to get a bigger motor and also to use a poly water tank as opposed to metal to lighten the load, said fireman Bryan Whitney. By custom producing the skid unit it allows us to get the best quality that will specifically meet our needs.

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