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W.Va. American Water awards grants to four county fire departments

West Virginia American Water announced the awardees of its fourth annual Firefighting Support Grant Program on June 28.

The program will provide more than $10,000 in financial assistance to fire departments located within the company’s service area. Grants will help local fire departments purchase emergency gear, life-saving equipment, training materials and essential firefighting apparatus.

“Assisting our local fire departments is one of the most vital things we can do to ensure the safety and security of our communities,” said West Virginia American Water President Brian Bruce in a media release. “West Virginia American Water is very proud to support organizations that play such a valuable role in the continued protection of our customers.”

The program covers a wide range of fire department expenses associated with personal protective gear, communications equipment, firefighting tools, water handling equipment, training and related activities that will be used to support community fire protection. A team of West Virginia American Water employees selected the grant recipients through a screening and application review process.

Kanawha County fire departments who received grants are:

• Belle Volunteer Fire Department ($1,000) for 15 pairs of structural firefighting gloves and 15 fire-retardant hoods

• Malden Volunteer Fire Department ($1,000) for a portable scene light and 10 pairs of structural firefighting gloves

• Tornado Volunteer Fire Department ($950) for a small boat motor

• Tyler Mountain Volunteer Fire Department ($500) for the purchase of 20 fire-retardant hoods.

“The cost of the new hoods is $700,” Tyler Mountain VFD Chief David Martin said last week. “This grant will provide $500 and we have to put up the additional $200. We try to get every grant we can find. Our hoods are probably 15 years old, and now they want everybody to have two hoods. If you go into a fire and the hood gets contamined, you can use another one, but you can’t always do that when you don’t have the funding.”

Martin said the Tyler Mountain VFD also received a $1,000 matching-fund grant earlier this year from the Bayer Corporation in Institute.

Other grant recipients include the fire departments in Racine, Huntington, Ansted, Hurricane, Weston, Jane Lew, Bluefield and Webster Springs.

Additionally, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have announced $663,347 in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for fire departments in five West Virginia counties. The grants are awarded through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program to help local departments purchase new equipment.

In Kanawha County, the Clendenin Volunteer Fire Department was awarded $62,000 and the Marmet Community Volunteer Fire Department will receive $133,334.

-- From Staff Reports


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