The Scappoose Fire District (SFD) has new equipment, thanks to a competitive grant the district recently received.
The grant, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant, (AFG), was awarded to SFD in the amount of $333,333 to replace its Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBA). The grant was officially accepted at a Special Meeting of Scappoose Fire District on Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Scappoose Fire Station by the SFD board of directors. With a cost share of 5% from the district, the total cost of the project is $350,000. SFD will use the grant funds to purchase 50 SCBA, including a spare bottle and face mask for each apparatus.
All SCBA will be replaced, and, according to a press release from Columbia River Fire and Rescue (CRFR) Division Chief Ian O’Connor, all SCBA in use today have nearly met their life expectancy of 15 years, after which point the bottles can no longer be tested, rendering them unsafe for use.
“The new SCBA will meet current industry and safety standards for firefighting and contain a variety of technological upgrades that will enhance the use for the user,” the press release stated.
The application process is competitive, and this is not the first time SFD has applied for this grant, according to Janine Salisbury, Finance Administrator for SFD. O’Connor was able to serve in a jury pool during a grant review process for other FEMA grants, and in that way he was able to gain more insight into what grant reviewers were looking for, according to Jennifer Motherway, Public Information Officer for CRFR. Motherway added that while other division chiefs were also involved in the grant process, O’Connor was the primary coordinator.
“He went through a lot of time to make sure the application was really, really good,” Salisbury said.
According to the SFD, the district applied for the grant during the open application process in October of 2018 and competed against over 8,400 other grant applications submitted during that timeframe.
The award letter issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the department under which the agency FEMA resides, the AFG is awarded in order to “protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards.”