Fire dept. lands $148K grant for brush truck

GREEN TWP. – The Green Township Fire Department has been awarded funding for a new brush truck.

Chief Todd Baird announced Friday that the department has secured a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant of $148,000 through the 2013 assistance to firefighters program that will be used for the brush truck. The grant provides $140,000 with the township covering the remaining $7,400 (5 percent).

Describing the grant as a “huge deal,” Baird said the new truck will replace a 46-year-old jeep that has no compartments and hauls one person. He said the new truck will be one ton vehicle with multiple compartments and can help in fire prevention and fighting brush or grass fires.

In addition to its usefulness to the fire department, though, the truck will also be a big boost to the EMS department, too, Baird noted. He explained that the truck can be used in removing downed trees or brush, as well as an off-road rescue truck.

“During a recent ATV crash a mile off the road, I had to use my pickup truck to get to the scene,” he recounted. The new truck will make it no longer necessary to use personal vehicles in emergencies, he said.

Since 2002 when Baird took over as chief, the department has secured nearly $700,000 in grant funding, including nearly $468,000 from FEMA, the applications for which Baird said he writes with his wife. So far in 2014 the department has received $163,750 in grants including sources such as the state fire marshal’s office, EMS and OTARMA (state insurance).

“We’re just getting back tax dollars we’ve already paid the government, but we can put it to good use helping the township,” Baird said.