— Earlier this week, Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Administration announced that Greenwood VFD had won a competitive grant for wildland fire tools, equipment and protective gear.
The grant is valued at $46,224 and is awarded as part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.
Greenwood applied for the AFG grant after its experience with the horrendous wildfire season of 2011. The department was deployed, along with other Parker County departments, for a week to the Possum Kingdom Complex fire, and for several days on the the 101 Ranch fire and numerous other fires in Parker, Wise and Jack counties.
During those deployments the officers of the department realized that they were ill prepared for these huge and dangerous fires. They had inadequate tools, lacked pumping equipment and didn’t have the right kind of personal protective gear required for big fires.
At that time they planned what was needed and in early 2012 submitted the AFG grant. The grant will provide a large cargo trailer equipped with multiple sets of hand tools such as axes, Pulaski tools, grubbing tools, trash hooks, fire flails, shovels, bolt cutters, backpack fire extinguishers, drip torches and other hand tools.
It will also provide pumps and educators, which will allow the department to draft water out of stock tanks and other water sources. The trailer will be equipped with a generator and lighting system and enough radios to support a crew on deployment. The grant will also provide the fire resistant pants and shirts, helmets, goggles, backpacks and canteens for the crew.
The ESD and Greenwood VFD plan on making this equipment available to other Parker County fire departments when they are jointly deployed as part of the Parker County Wildland Fire Task Force.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs also announced that Greenwood was receiving one of its Ready, Set Go! grants valued at $1,000. The Ready Set Go! grant provides funding for newsletters and other materials to educate citizens who live in wildland urban interface areas on how to make their homes safer when threatened by wildfires.
Greenwood is planning an ice-cream social open house later this year, most likely in May, to help residents of the Greenwood area plan their strategies to be ready, to get set and to be prepared to go when threatened by wildfire.
Both the National Weather Service and the Texas Forest Service are predicting a high probability of more devastating fires over the next several years as we face the continued threat of drought.
“Grants like this are very important to ESDs because they fund projects that we couldn’t fund with our tax dollars,” said ESD 7 President Johnie Herbert. “Without these grants we wouldn’t be doing as complete a job of supporting our citizens.”
For more information about these two grant sources, visit www.wildlandfirersg.org and www.fema.gov/welcome-assistance-firefighters-grant-program.