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New equipment, funding coming to Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Dept.

By Staff | Sep 4, 2015

The Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department has some changes coming with the recent awarding of more than $690,000 in federal grant funding to the department, as well as two new ambulances on the way.

Last week, the offices of senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) announced the awarding of approximately $850,000 in grants through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant and Fire Prevention and Safety Programs to four municipal fire departments in West Virginia.

The Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department received $693,481 in Assistance to Firefighters Grant funding.

The Hooverston Heights Volunteer Fire Department in Follansbee received $95,239 in Assistance to Firefighters Grant funding, the Cora Volunteer Fire Department in Cora received $31,334 in Fire Protection and Safety funding, and the Verdunville Volunteer Fire Department in Verdunville received $29,679 in Fire Protection and Safety funding.

The primary goal of the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is to supply critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources to local communities.

According to Lieutenant Daniel Henderson with the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department, the grant funding will be used to purchase 21 LifePak 15 cardiac monitors for the eight fire and rescue departments in Jefferson County.

The cardiac monitors will cost $752,829, he said.

Though three other fire departments in West Virginia received grant funding, Henderson said Shepherdstown received more due to the process FEMA uses to determine funding.

“There’s a process each application goes through. First, a computer grades the application. The applications with the highest scores are then peer-reviewed by other firefighters, who grade the grant application again. The higher your score, the more funding you get,” he said.

Henderson said the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department also has two new ambulances on the way, though the acquisition of the ambulances is not related to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant award.

“The ambulances are being funded through the fire department. We’re going to pay for them ourselves through loan,” Henderson said. “Other funding has come from our fundraisers and donations, and it will cost about half a million dollars, total, for both ambulances.”

The ambulances are needed because the two ambulances currently operated by the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department are older models that Henderson said have become very costly to maintain.

“Our current ambulances are starting to show signs of age and they’re starting to fall apart and have lots of maintenance issues,” he said. “In the long run, it’ll be less expensive to purchase the new ambulances.”

Henderson said fire department staff have met with the builders of the ambulances twice to discuss specifications, and said the two new ambulances will arrive at the station between December 2015 and April 2016.