Pa. EMS and fire companies receive grant money

Awards from annual Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program used for AEDs, debt reduction, tool purchases and upgrading digital technology

By Mary Pickels

GREENSBURG, Pa. — The annual rite of applying for funding through Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program has paid off for area departments.

The nonprofits, 21 in Westmoreland County, one in Indiana County and five in Armstrong County, are sharing $329,000 in grants.

Latrobe fire Chief John Brasile said several of the department's five companies received grants this year.

Hook and Ladder Company No. 2 is using its $12,068 grant for debt reduction, tool purchases and upgrading its digital technology.

Devices such as tablets and notebooks will be kept in the fire trucks to assist with field reporting, he said.

The company's EMS will benefit from a $7,147 grant.

“We don't transport, but we can treat on scene,” Brasile said Friday.

That treatment requires equipment, including defibrillators and automated external defibrillators, along with medication.

“There are maintenance expenses. Drugs expire,” he said.

Goodwill Hose Company No. 1 is applying some of its $11,514 for new turnout gear, Brasile said.

Freewill Volunteer Hose Company No. 3 and 4 and Good Friends Hose Company No. 5 each also received $11,514.

Mark Piantine, chief of Derry Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 1, Bradenville, said the department invested about $2,000, on top of its $12,622 grant, to purchase new equipment.

“We have used (grants) in the past for debt reduction for our 2011 fire truck,” Piantine said.

He said this year the funding was used to purchase 1,000 feet of 5-inch claw supply line, which is lighter than typical lines.

The department also received and has used a rolling rack hose system.

“We're all getting older,” Piantine said.

Draining and rolling hoses can be exhausting and time-consuming for aging and declining memberships, he said.

“This makes cleanup so much easier,” Piantine said.

The annual funding comes from gaming revenue and is administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

This year, $30 million in funding was distributed to fire companies and EMS departments statewide.

“These grants will help these organizations focus on what they do best — protecting lives and property,” state Rep. Rep. Joseph Petrarca, a Washington Township Democrat, said in a news release.

Petrarca announced the local grants this year for the 55th Legislative District, which consists of portions of Westmoreland, Indiana and Armstrong counties.

Grants can be used for repairing, building or renovating facilities, new equipment purchase, debt reduction and training and certification of staff.

Additional Westmoreland County department grants and recipients are:

• Avonmore Volunteer Fire Department, $11,514.

• Bell Township Volunteer Fire Department, $12,345.

• George G. McMurtry fire department Vandergrift No. 1, $14,284.

• Hyde Park Volunteer Fire Department, $12,899.

• Lloydsville Volunteer Fire Department, $14,284.

• New Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department, $12,068.

• Oklahoma Volunteer Fire Department No. 1, $12,622, EMS, $7,444.

• Rough Terrain Support Unit, $14,284.

• Vandergrift Fire Dept. No. 2 , $10,590; EMS, $7,444.

• Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 1, $12,899.

• West Leechburg Volunteer Fire Company, $11,514.

• Whitney Hostetter Volunteer Fire Department, $12,622.

• Youngstown Volunteer Fire Department and Relief Association, $14,284.

• Indiana County, Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Department, $12,622.

Petrarca supported program changes increasing the amount of available grants, and extending the program through June 30, 2016.

©2015 Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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