Hartselle gets $100,000 FEMA grant for fire gear
By Deangelo McDaniel
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HARTSELLE — Mayor Dwight Tankersley said Hartselle will receive $100,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to buy Fire Department equipment.
“This is a pleasant surprise,” Tankersley said.
The grant requires Hartselle to provide a 5 percent match.
Fire Chief Steve Shelton said the grant will let Hartselle make significant changes in two areas: communications and firefighter turnouts.
He said the application requires the department to buy an 800 MHz communications system, including hand-held radios, and new radios for each firetruck.
“The new turnouts will be state-of-the-art and include everything from boots, pants, coats, suspenders and helmets,” Shelton said. “Basically, our firefighters are going to have everything they need to enter a structure fire.”
The news that Hartselle’s grant application had been approved came on the same day that city leaders voted to spend $324,885 to purchase a pumper truck.
“This is something that is desperately needed,” City Council President Kenny Thompson said about the truck.
It will be custom built and delivered to the city, probably in December.
Thompson stepped up his lobbying for the truck after the city was down to one operable fire engine in December.
“I’ve always thought that we needed the truck, but we’re especially going to need it, and probably some more manpower in the department, if we create the police jurisdiction,” he said.
The council is proposing to re-establish the city’s police jurisdiction, which would require Hartselle to respond to fire and police calls as much as three miles beyond its corporate limits.
“That’s going to stretch their resources, and they may need more help from the council, especially if the grant doesn’t cover it,” Thompson said.
Shelton said the grant will definitely improve communications in the jurisdiction.
“In addition to the 800 MHz radios, we’re going to have an 800 MHz base station,” he said.
Shelton said officials are already thinking about the next grant cycle.
“We’re looking at equipment we don’t have and replacing outdated equipment with our next grant request,” he said.
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