Department gets FEMA grant

Published 9:13 am Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Kenbridge Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD) received more than $54,000 in a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase a source capture exhaust system for the department’s firehouse.

According to KVFD Fire Chief Richard “Dickie” Harris, the system will help filter fumes emitted from the fire trucks out of the fire house.

“We’re conscience about trying to protect our firefighters from cancer and the exhaust

fumes, protect(ing) them from the diesel firetrucks,” Harris said. “…When we have a fire call we may crank up, or start up, three or four fire trucks at one time and it really becomes a real problem in the fire station with the exhaust fumes.”

Harris said the department applied for the grant with assistance from the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC).

He said the grant is termed an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG).

The department will have 12 months to install the system.

Harris currently the fire house doesn’t have an exhaust system to expel the fumes emitted from the fire trucks, noting such setup is common at most fire stations in Southside Virginia.

“We apply for grants all the time,” Harris said. “In the last 10 years we’ve received right many grants from FEMA. This is probably the smallest one we’ve received from them,” Harris said. “The biggest one had been over $300,000.”

According to FEMA, the primary goal of the AFG is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations and state fire training academies.

“This funding is for critically-needed resources to equip and train emergency personnel to recognized standards, enhance operational efficiencies, foster interoperability and support community resilience,” officials said.