By Dedra Cordle
When responding to a call for a brush fire, a water rescue or an injury at the Metro Park, the firefighters with the Pleasant Township Fire Department hop into a retrofitted 1995 Ford F-350 pickup truck to reach the scene.
Though confidence to get to the location and treat the situation accordingly is high, there are some risks posed to the personnel that they think about along the way.
“Several of the firefighters have to sit in the bed of the truck and that exposes them to accidents and injury if there is a roll-over or a crash,” said Fire Chief Brian Taylor.
To try to address the potential hazard, Taylor said he began investigating the cost of a new emergency vehicle that is not only capable of providing complete protection for the firefighters, but is also capable of reaching challenging access points within the township.
The price, he discovered, was high.
“I couldn’t justify asking the board of trustees to purchase a piece of expensive equipment that is not going to be used most of the time,” he said.
With that avenue closed, Taylor said he began searching for grant opportunities and found one through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
With the board’s approval, Taylor hired a grant writer from the Ohio First Responder Grant, LLC for assistance with the process.
After months had passed and no notification as to whether they were still in the running, Taylor received a call several weeks ago informing the department that they have been awarded a large grant to purchase a new emergency vehicle.
According to Taylor, the FEMA grant is for approximately $140,000 with the township only having to match 5 percent of the cost.
Taylor said the department was ecstatic when they received the word.
“Any time a department gets new equipment is a huge morale boost,” he said.
He added that this news was also a good thing for the community as it will help the first responders reach far-away hiking trails, bike paths and secluded water access points.
The department is currently making specifications for the new emergency vehicle, which will go out to bid as stipulated in the grant. Taylor said it will be at least a year before the department receives the vehicle.