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Posted January 18, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Grants boost fire department

By Alex Bridges

The Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue has received more than $186,000 in grants to help buy new equipment from computers to vehicles.

Awards received in the past six months include a grant for $136,418 from the Rescue Squad Assistance Fund of the Virginia Department of Emergency Services to buy a new ambulance for the North Warren Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department. The county provided the required match of $34,104.

The county received a grant of $16,253 from the Virginia Department of Emergency Medical Services and the Rescue Squad Assistance Fund to buy six Toughbook laptop computers. The devices can allow crews in emergency response vehicles to perform electronic reporting. The county provided $3,901 in matching funds. The department received a second grant from the same source for $28,800 to buy 10 Toughbooks for the same purpose. The local match was $7,200.

A Supplemental Local Emergency Management Performance Grant of $5,200 from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management helped to buy seven laptop computers for use in the Warren County Emergency Operations Center and the Public Safety Building. The county paid $5,200 in matching funds.

Grants and Special Projects Coordinator Brandy Rosser states in a press release that the department also will receive refurbished laptop computers from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Fairfax offered to clean off the equipment and make them available to local agencies. Fairfax's fire administration approved Warren County Chief Richard Mabie's request for 35 of the laptops. Costs to install programs on the laptops and mount the equipment in vehicles will be minimal, Rosser states.

The Board of Supervisors reviewed applications for grants that require a local match before authorizing county staff to submit the requests, Rosser explained.

"It gives the Board an opportunity to weigh in on what departments are applying for and also allows them to update their constituents if any questions are asked," Rosser said in an email Friday.

Grants awarded in the past six months received the board's approval at previous meetings.

The board at its meeting Tuesday authorized Rosser and the county department to submit an application for a grant through the 2012 Fire Prevention and Safety program for a digital fire extinguisher training device. Such a device and related equipment is expected to cost $11,387, according to county information. The grant would come from Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to Rosser, the fire and rescue staff currently use a fire pan with a liquefied petroleum gas for their extinguisher training, and that must take place outdoors. The practice is messy, costly and limited by weather. Staff trained more than 400 people in 2012. Officials have expressed a need for the investment in the digital training device, according to Rosser.

Based on Warren County's population the grant program should cover 90 percent of the eligible costs of the equipment, according to Rosser. The county would need to cover the remaining 10 percent, or approximately $1,139. This amount would come from the county department's special projects budget.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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