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Three Shelby County Fire Districts have received small grants to purchase special equipment for extinguishing fires in woods and forests.
Mount Eden, Ballardsville and Bagdad Fire Districts have received several thousand dollars each from the Kentucky Division Forestry to buy equipment, such as pressure units that can be installed in smaller trucks like pickups or SUVs.
Mount Eden received $5,000, and Fire Chief Doug Herndon said he plans to purchase a slide-in, high-pressure unit.
“It will use a lot less water, and it is very effective on grass and forest fires,” he said. “It has a two-hundred-gallon tank, with a special pump that puts out a high-pressure spray. It’s very similar to a power washer. It’s also got its own motor, plus a two-hundred-foot hose.”
Herndon said the funding is in the form of a 50-50 matching grant to purchase the unit, which ranges from $8,000 to $15,000 in price, depending on the size and type.
“The project will be a little over [the] five-thousand [grant] on our part; it will be a little over six [thousand] altogether,” Herndon said, meaning that the district would have to add $1,000 from its treasury.
He said the need for such a unit varies from year to year.
“The weather is the biggest factor. When we have dry conditions, with low humidity and high winds, is when the potential for that type of fire is greatest,” he said. “We’re really excited about it; it will probably be after the first of the year before we get it in service.”
Ballardsville Fire Chief Stephen Pante said he plans to buy radio equipment with his $5.000 grant.
Rick Floyd, chair of the Bagdad Fire District, said that district received a $1,700 grant and that it will be used for firefighting equipment.
“We are going to buy helmets, goggles and gloves,” he said.
Said Bagdad Fire Chief Rusty Newton: “We are going to match that amount, so this will come in very handy.”
This year the KDF awarded $195,000 in grants to 62 rural fire departments across the state through the Volunteer Fire Assistance grant program. During the past 10 years, the KDF has given out more than $2.1 million to fire departments in Kentucky.
The VFA grant program is open to volunteer fire departments protecting communities with a population of 10,000 or less to help them increase their ability to fight wildfires and can be used to purchase training material, as well as pumps, hoses, tanks, small wildfire suppression equipment and personal protective equipment.