Rural Fire Authority to receive $416K grant to buy air packs.

August 7, 2017

Rural Fire Authority to receive $416K grant to buy air packs.


By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

CUSTER — The Mason County Rural Fire Authority will receive a $416,000 Assistance to Firefighters grant from the Federal Emergency Management. The money will be used to purchase air packs and air filling equipment for the fire authority’s seven fire departments.

“This is huge for the fire authority and the residents within the authority,” said MCRFA Chairman Chuck Keller.

“This grant is a tremendous savings for the taxpayers of the fire authority,” said Riverton Township Fire Chief Joe Cooper, who was one of the firefighters who initiated the grant application. “Having updated SCBAs is essential to maximize firefighter safety,” Cooper said. “Our firefighters sacrifice a lot to help save the lives and property of their neighbors, for very small compensation. We want to assure that we do everything we can to keep them safe.”

The rural fire authority will need to match 5% ($20,800). The money will purchase six to 10 new self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for each of the fire authority’s departments, along with a spare bottle for each SCBA and a mask for each of the fire authority’s 122 firefighters. A new SCBA is about $6,000. The money will also assist the fire authority in purchasing a new air filling trailer and equipment.

The current air filling system is a low pressure system and the new system will be high pressure. The new system will allow more air in the SCBA bottles, meaning firefighters can work longer within the smoke area and also refill less often. The current bottles last 20 minutes while the new ones will last 45 minutes, Cooper said.

“These SCBAs will last us 15 to 20 years and we want to follow the latest trends of the manufacturers and the industry,” Cooper said.

The initial grant application asked for about $500,000. “We are extremely grateful for the money that we are receiving but it is about $100,000 short of what we requested, which will mean we will need to make some cuts to our initial plan or find other sources of funding.”

The Mason County Rural Fire Authority consists of Scottville Fire Dept., Riverton Twp. Fire Dept., Branch Twp. Fire Dept., Custer Twp. Fire Dept., Fountain Area Fire Dept., Grant Twp. Fire Dept., and Free Soil/Meade Fire Dept. protecting the City of Scottville, villages of Custer, Fountain, and Free Soil, and townships of Amber, Riverton, Victory, Summit, Grant, Free Soil, Meade, Sherman, Sheridan, Custer, Eden, and Branch.

This story and photograph are copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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