Fire department looks to save lives — and money

EAST PALESTINE — The local fire department is saving money through University Hospital and is looking at additional savings through possible grants.

Fire Chief Josh Brown said in his monthly activity report for May that the department has been accepted into the University Hospital (UH) EMS protocol, which means the department will no longer have to purchase the medications carried on the ambulances, as they are provided by UH.

He said the change will save about $3,000 to $4,000 a year and that in addition, UH will also provide the department with available medical supplies, which he estimated will save another $1,500 a year.

The department is currently under consideration for two grants and is completing applications for two other grants. The department is also expecting to file applications for a least four other grants to be applied for in the future, he added in the report.

The grants the department are currently under consideration for are the Build Strong Communities grant through the Trans Canadian Energy Company and the Firefighter Exposure to Environmental Elements grant through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Brown said applications that are currently being completed are an equipment grant through Fire House Subs and a rural EMS training and equipment grant through the Department of Health and Human Services.

Future grants the department plans to seek are the 2019 assistance to firefighters grant for equipment, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources volunteer fire assistance grant, a fire department equipment grant through the state fire marshal’s office, and an EMS grant for training and equipment through the Ohio Division of EMS.

Meanwhile, Brown also said in the report that the fire department has received a donation of a complete set of updated vehicle extrication equipment that cost $28,000 from the East Palestine Firefighter’s Association.

The department also received a $5,000 donation from the East Palestine VFW, which was used to purchase vehicle rescue struts.

Both the fire and police departments were also able to save money last month by purchasing equipment through the Ohio Government Surplus Program. The fire department was able to get three AEDs, 20 portable radios, a smart board and supply cabinets for a total cost of $400 while the police department was able to get roughly $3,200 worth of equipment and office supplies for a total cost of $120.

Acting Mayor Alan Cohen pointed out the departments’ money savings efforts during the Monday council meeting, and also praised the police department for their work on other programs, like DARE and K-9.

According to the police department activity report for May, Sgt. Brian Moore had 92 students graduate from the DARE program this year. He also taught the program at the elementary school.

Lt. Don Johnson and K-9 Toney also received their North American Police Working Dog Association certification, which is a nationally recognized certification.