The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department has submitted an application for a grant to purchase mobile computing devices or tablets for the city's fire trucks.
Chief Charlie Parker updated the mayor and aldermen on the project Monday night. He said the grant is a Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $45,696 and if approved the city's match would be $2,200.
"We got the grant (application) submitted a couple of weeks ago. The grant would be for mobile computing devices or tablets to be installed in the trucks. The grant would also include all the hardware, software, licensing and everything that goes into getting them connected into the trucks. If we do get the grant it would help us on our ISO point. It would also allow the firefighters to have more information in the field," said Chief Parker.
The city has also purchased and the fire department received new Jaws of Life hydraulic rescue equipment which was funded in this year's budget.
The department now has three sets of tools for vehicle extrication.
"In this year's budget you (aldermen) voted and appropriated money to purchase new hydraulic rescue equipment, the Jaws of Life. We have already received it and have it in operation. We now have three sets including the new set that we bought and the two older sets. One of them is the original set that we bought in the 1980's when we started doing vehicle extrications. We then got a newer set we bought a few years after that. We're still trying to sell the newer (second) set. The older set we're not going to get much money out of but with the newer set we might get a little more money to at least buy a new tool to go toward our new set. When we bought this new hydraulic set it was kind of a starter kit because the initial cost to do everything we needed is around $46,000 and we spent about $25,000 just to get started. It gives us a starting point we can build on," Chief Parker continued.
The Chief also asked the aldermen to allow the department to loan the oldest set of tools to the Alexandria Fire Department which is planning to start its own rescue extrication team. The aldermen approved the request. "I would like to ask the board if it's possible for us to loan the oldest set of tools to the Alexandria Fire Department. They are in the process of trying to start a rescue/extrication team down there. They have a crew and already have several members certified in using the tools. Some of them even came up and trained with us too. We would like to help them out and let them have our oldest set. It's still useable. We were using it up until we just replaced it. We'd like to see if we could loan that to them to help them get started until they can buy or get something on a grant. It would be understood that the tools would be their responsibility with no liability coming back to us on that. I have talked with the Alexandria Fire Chief and we'll make sure they are going to accept the responsibilities of it," said Chief Parker.