The Schaller Fire Department announced that it is receiving $92,642 from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency Program (FEMA) grant. Fire Chief Ed Syndergaard says the funding will be used to buy needed updated personal protection equipment.
"It (the funding) means a lot to us because a lot of our gear is from 1984 and 1985 and this will bring us up to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards," he says. According to Syndergaard the department is eligible to apply yearly for a FEMA firefighter grant. "It's basically just the luck of the draw. We've been applying for six years and we finally got it," he says.
The department will be purchasing items including new protective clothing, helmets, boots, personal breathing apparatus equipment and a thermal imaging camera. Syndergaard says they originally applied for a grant about $119K but are thankful for the funding they were able to receive. In addition to equipment fire departments can use the funding for training and wellness programs for firefighters.
The volunteer department which currently has 24 volunteers has an annual pancake breakfast and Syndergaard says they were able to raise $4,000 this past fall. Manly, Moorland and Reading's Fire Departments were the other departments in Iowa to receive funding from FEMA this year.