COALTON - The Coalton Volunteer Fire Department will receive more than $70,000 in funding thanks to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
The grant is designed to generate funding to go toward operations and safety, and can be used to purchase training and protective gear and equipment for wellness and fitness, as well as to make health and safety improvements to stations and facilities.
The Coalton VFD is receiving $71,820 from the grant.
"The grant funds will be used to purchase 14 new SCBA (Air Packs). This new equipment will provide our firefighters with the most current and up to date breathing apparatus on the market, and play a key role in fire fighter safety," a post on the Coalton Fire Department's Facebook page stated. Ernie George, the Coalton fire chief, was out of town Friday and unavailable for comment.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is operated under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the primary goal to "meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and to enhance their ability to protect the public and first responders from fire and related hazards," according to a press release Friday from the office of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
"Our courageous first responders at our local fire departments voluntarily put their lives on the line every day to help protect the people of West Virginia," Manchin said in the release. "My prior experience working with the volunteer rescue squad in Marion County has allowed me to experience and appreciate their hard work and dedication first-hand. These grants provide our fire departments with the necessary resources to respond to all emergencies and to keep our communities safe."
"West Virginia's firefighters are always so brave when stepping up to protect our families and our communities," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who announced the grant with Manchin. "Because success and safety in their jobs is so important, we must do all we can to make sure they are properly equipped to respond to emergencies.
"This funding for the Benwood and Coalton Volunteer Fire Departments will help in meeting this very important obligation to the incredible men and women who selflessly and constantly give of themselves for the safety of others."
Randolph County Commissioner Mike Taylor told The Inter-Mountain Friday the Commission "supports the efforts of the Coalton VFD to obtain funding through grants."
"I know that it is time and labor intensive and we appreciate their hard work," Taylor said. "The Commission also appreciates the efforts of Senators Manchin and Rockefeller in helping obtain this grant for the Coalton VFD."
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