Rescue squad will use $43K grant for cold weather, safety gear
by Jazz Clark
As part of $380 million in funds being passed down through U.S. Department
of Homeland Security, $43,548 will be provided to Morgan County Rescue Services, Inc.
Kevin Duckwall, Chief of Morgan County Rescue Services, said the money
will mainly go towards gear for the rescue squad.
The 2011 Assistance to Firefighters Program will give funding to first-responders in multiple areas of EMS: operations and safety, training, health and safety improvements and equipment.
“We need protective equipment for cold weather with thermal protection,” Duckwall said. “This grant should be enough to provide protective boots, coats, pants and gear bags to store them in for our employees and volunteers.”
Any remaining funds will be utilized for traffic vests and flashlights, he said.
The rescue service applied for roughly $250,000 in funding. Additional
monies would have gone toward additional cots and heart monitors, said Duckwall.
Morgan County Rescue Services has applied for this grant for the last three years, but this is the first time they received any funding, Duckwall said.
The grant requires a match of 5%, meaning the rescue squad needs to come up
with $2,177 to receive funding.
Duckwall said they applied only for the EMS portion of the grant, which cannot be used towards firefighting gear.
“All the equipment we need is mandated by law,” said Bob Dugan, who has served on the Board of Directors of the rescue service for 20 years. “There’s all this equipment and training our people need to have, but we have to come
up with the money on our own.”
Training Paramedics is expensive and time consuming, but they are a complete necessity for the squad, said Dugan.
“It takes an Associate’s degree to be a paramedic, which means at least two years of higher education,” Dugan said. ”We’ve been lucky to find volunteers to teach some technical skills, because training is expensive.”
With a wide variety of people needed to handle any scenario from car
wrecks to fire calls, the rescue squad feels lucky to have what funding they
do get, according to Dugan.
“It’s been a struggle to stay afloat, and there’s never enough funding, “ said Dugan. “You can only charge people so much for emergency services — $75 for a call.
We have people working 365 days a year.”
Safety is the number one priority. for the squad’s 40 full and part-time employees and a few volunteers, according to Duckwall. The $43,000 grant will help with that effort.
“When our people are out on the street, out in the elements protecting
the citizens of Morgan County, they need protection themselves,” said Duckwall.